The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1
Richard F. Burton

Part 5 out of 9

daughter to any but to him; so when he came I married him to her.
[FN#385] Now he is young and I am old; my hearing is dulled and
my judgement is easily fooled; wherefore I would solicit our lord
the Sultan [FN#386] to set him in my stead, for he is my
brother's son and my daughter's husband; and he is fit for the
Wazirate, being a man of good counsel and ready contrivance."
The Sultan looked at Nur al-Din and liked him, so he stablished
him in office as the Wazir had requested and formally appointed
him, presenting him with a splendid dress of honour and a she-
mule from his private stud; and assigning to him solde, stipends
and supplies. Nur al-Din kissed the Sultan's hand and went home,
he and his father-in-law, joying with exceeding joy and saying,
"All this followeth on the heels of the boy Hasan's birth!" Next
day he presented himself before the King and, kissing the ground,
began repeating:--

"Grow thy weal and thy welfare day by day: * And thy luck
prevail o'er the envier's spite;
And ne'er cease thy days to be white as day, * And thy foeman's
day to be black as night!"

The Sultan bade him be seated on the Wazir's seat, so he sat down
and applied himself to the business of his office and went into
the cases of the lieges and their suits, as is the wont of
Ministers; while the Sultan watched him and wondered at his wit
and good sense, judgement and insight. Wherefor he loved him and
took him into intimacy. When the Divan was dismissed Nur al-Din
returned to his house and related what had passed to his father-
in-law who rejoiced. And thenceforward Nur al-Din ceased not so
to administer the Wazirate that the Sultan would not be parted
from him night or day; and increased his stipend and supplies
until his means were ample and he became the owner of ships that
made trading voyages at his command, as well as of Mamelukes and
blackamoor slaves; and he laid out many estates and set up
Persian wheels and planted gardens. When his son Hasan was four
years of age, the old Wazir deceased and he made for his father-
in-law a sumptuous funeral ceremony ere he was laid in the dust.
Then he occupied himself with the education of this son and, when
the boy waxed strong and came to the age of seven, he brought him
a Fakih, a doctor of law and religion, to teach him in his own
house and charged him to give him a good education and instruct
him in politeness and manners. So the tutor made the boy read
and retain all varieties of useful knowledge, after he had spent
some years in learning the Koran by heart; [FN#387] and he ceased
not to grow in beauty and stature and symmetry, even as saith the

In his face-sky shines the fullest moon; * In his cheeks' anemone
glows the sun:
He so conquered Beauty that he hath won * All charms of
humanity one by one.

The professor brought him up in his father's palace teaching him
reading, writing and cyphering, theology and belles lettres. His
grandfather the old Wazir had bequeathed to him the whole of his
property when he was but four years of age. Now during all the
time of his earliest youth he had never left the house, till on a
certain day his father, the Wazir Nur al-Din, clad him in his
best clothes and, mounting him on a she-mule of the finest, went
up with him to the Sultan. The King gazed at Badr al-Din Hasan
and marvelled at his comeliness and loved him. As for the city-
folk, when he first passed before them with his father, they
marvelled at his exceeding beauty and sat down on the road
expecting his return, that they might look their fill on his
beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace; even as the
poet said in these verses:--

As the sage watched the stars, the semblance clear
Of a fair youth on 's scroll he saw appear.
Those jetty locks Canopus o'er him threw,
And tinged his temple curls a musky hue;
Mars dyed his ruddy cheek; and from his eyes
The Archer-star his glittering arrow flies;
His wit from Hermes came; and Soha's care,
(The half-seen star that dimly haunts the Bear)
Kept off all evil eyes that threaten and ensnare,
The sage stood mazed to see such fortunes meet,
And Luna kissed the earth beneath his feet. [FN#388]

And they blessed him aloud as he passed and called upon Almighty
Allah to bless him. [FN#389] The Sultan entreated the lad with
especial favour and said to his father, "O Wazir, thou must needs
bring him daily to my presence;" whereupon he replied, "I hear
and I obey." Then the Wazir returned home with his son and
ceased not to carry him to court till he reached the age of
twenty. At that time the Minister sickened and, sending for Badr
al-Din Hasan, said to him, "Know, O my son, that the world of the
Present is but a house of mortality, while that of the Future is
a house of eternity. I wish, before I die, to bequeath thee
certain charges and do thou take heed of what I say and incline
thy heart to my words." Then he gave him last instructions as to
the properest way of dealing with his neighbours and the due
management of his affairs; after which he called to mind his
brother and his home and his native land and wept over his
separation from those he had first loved. Then he wiped away his
tears and, turning to his son, said to him, "Before I proceed, O
my son, to my last charges and injunctions, know that I have a
brother, and thou hast an uncle, Shams al-Din hight, the Wazir of
Cairo, which whom I parted, leaving him against his will. Now
take thee a sheet of paper and write upon it whatso I say to
thee." Badr al-Din took a fair leaf and set about doing his
father's bidding and he wrote thereon a full account of what had
happened to his sire first and last; the dates of his arrival at
Bassorah and of his foregathering with the Wazir; of his
marriage, of his going in to the Minister's daughter and of the
birth of his son; brief, his life of forty years from the date of
his dispute with his brother, adding the words, "And this is
written at my dictation and may Almighty Allah be with him when I
am gone!" Then he folded the paper and sealed it and said, "O
Hasan, O my son, keep this paper with all care; for it will
enable thee to stablish thine origin and rank and lineage and, if
anything contrary befal thee, set out for Cairo and ask for thine
uncle and show him this paper and say to him that I died a
stranger far from mine own people and full of yearning to see him
and them." So Badr al-Din Hasan took the document and folded it;
and, wrapping it up in a piece of waxed cloth of his skull-cap
and wound his light turband [FN#390] round it. And he fell to
weeping over his father and at parting with him, and he but a
boy. Then Nur al-Din lapsed into a swoon, the forerunner of
death; but presently recovering himself he said, "O Hasan, O my
son, I will now bequeath to thee five last behests. The FIRST
BEHEST is, Be over-intimate with none, nor frequent any, nor be
familiar with any; so shalt thou be safe from his mischief;
[FN#391] for security lieth in seclusion of thought and a certain
retirement from the society of thy fellows; and I have heard it
said by a poet:--

In this world there is none thou mayst count upon * To befriend
thy case in the nick of need:
So live for thyself nursing hope of none * Such counsel I give
thee: enow, take heed!

The SECOND BEHEST is, O my son: Deal harshly with none lest
fortune with thee deal hardly; for the fortune of this world is
one day with thee and another day against thee and all worldly
goods are but a loan to be repaid. And I have heard a poet say:-

Take thought nor hast to win the thing thou wilt; * Have ruth on
man for ruth thou may'st require:
No hand is there but Allah's hand is higher; * No tyrant but
shall rue worse tyrant's ire!

The THIRD BEHEST is, Learn to be silent in society and let thine
own faults distract thine attention from the faults of other men:
for it is said:--In silence dwelleth safety, and thereon I have
heard the lines that tell us:--

Reserve's a jewel, Silence safety is; * Whenas thou speakest many
a word withhold;
For an of Silence thou repent thee once, * Of speech thou shalt
repent times manifold.

The FOURTH BEHEST, O my son, is Beware of wine-bibbing, for wine
is the head of all frowardness and a fine solvent of human wits.
So shun, and again I say, shun mixing strong liquor; for I have
heard a poet say [FN#392]:--

From wine [FN#393] I turn and whoso wine-cups swill; *
Becoming one of those who deem it ill:
Wine driveth man to miss salvation-way, [FN#394] * And opes the
gateway wide to sins that kill.

The FIFTH BEHEST, O my son, is Keep thy wealth and it will keep
thee; guard thy money and it will guard thee; and waste not thy
substance lest haply thou come to want and must fare a-begging
from the meanest of mankind. Save thy dirhams and deem them the
sovereignest salve for the wounds of the world. And here again I
have heard that one of the poets said:--

When fails my wealth no friend will deign befriend: * When
wealth abounds all friends their friendship tender:
How many friends lent aid my wealth to spend; * But friends to
lack of wealth no friendship render.

On this wise Nur al-Din ceased not to counsel his son Badr al-Din
Hasan till his hour came and, sighing one sobbing sigh, his life
went forth. Then the voice of mourning and keening rose high in
his house and the Sultan and all the grandees grieved for him and
buried him; but his son ceased not lamenting his loss for two
months, during which he never mounted horse, nor attended the
Divan nor presented himself before the Sultan. At last the King,
being wroth with him, stablished in his stead one of the
Chamberlains and made him Wazir, giving orders to seize and set
seals on all Nur al-Din's houses and goods and domains. So the
new Wazir went forth with a mighty posse of Chamberlains and
people of the Divan, and watchmen and a host of idlers to do this
and to seize Badr al-Din Hasan and carry him before the King, who
would deal with him as he deemed fit. Now there was among the
crowd of followers a Mameluke of the deceased Wazir who, when he
heard this order, urged his horse and rode at full speed to the
house of Badr al-Din Hasan; for he cold not endure to see the
ruin of his old master's son. He found him sitting at the gate
with head hung down and sorrowing, as was his wont, for the loss
of his father; so he dismounted and kissing his hand said to him,
"O my lord and son of my lord, haste ere ruin come and lay
waste!" When Hasan heard this he trembled and asked, "What may
be the matter?; and the man answered, "The Sultan is angered with
thee and hath issued a warrant against thee, and evil cometh hard
upon my track; so flee with thy life!" At these words Hasan's
heart flamed with the fire of bale, and his rose-red cheek turned
pale, and he said to the "Mameluke, "O my brother, is there time
for me to go in and get me some worldly gear which may stand me
in stead during my strangerhood?" But the slave replied, "O my
lord, up at once and save thyself and leave this house, while it
is yet time." And he quoted these lines:--

"Escape with thy life, if oppression betide thee, * And let the
house of its builder's fate!
Country for country thou'lt find, if thou seek it; * Life for
life never, early or late.
It is strange men should dwell in the house of abjection, * When
the plain of God's earth is so wide and so great!" [FN#395]

At these words of the Mameluke, Badr al-Din covered his head with
the skirt of his garment and went forth on foot till he stood
outside of the city, where he heard folk saying, "The Sultan hath
sent his new Wazir to the house of the old Wazir, now no more, to
seal his property and seize his son Badr al-Din Hasan and take
him before the presence, that he may put him to death; " and all
cried, "Alas for his beauty and his loveliness!" When he heard
this he fled forth at hazard, knowing not whither he was going,
and gave not over hurrying onwards till Destiny drove him to his
father's tomb. So he entered the cemetery and, threading his way
through the graves, at last he reached the sepulchre where he sat
down and let fall from his head the skirt of his long robe
[FN#396] which was made of brocade with a gold-embroidered hem
whereon were worked these couplets:--

O thou whose forehead, like the radiant East, * Tells of the
stars of Heaven and bounteous dews:
Endure thine honour to the latest day, * And Time thy growth of
glory ne'er refuse!

While he was sitting by his father's tomb behold, there came to
him a Jew as he were a Shroff, [FN#397] a money-changer, with a
pair of saddle-bags containing much gold, who accosted him and
kissed his hand, saying, "Whither bound, O my lord; 'tis late in
the day and thou art clad but lightly, and I read signs of
trouble in thy face?" "I was sleeping within this very hour,"
answered Hasan, "when my father appeared to me and chid me for
not having visited his tomb; so I awoke trembling and came hither
forthright lest the day should go by without my visiting him,
which would have been grievous to me." "O my lord," rejoined the
Jew, [FN#398] "thy father had many merchantmen at sea and, as
some of them are now due, it is my wish to buy of thee the cargo
of the first ship that cometh into port with this thousand dinars
of gold." "I consent," quoth Hasan, whereupon the Jew took out a
bag of gold and counted out a thousand sequins which he gave to
Hasan, the son of the Wazir, saying, "Write me a letter of sale
and seal it." So Hasan took a pen and paper and wrote these
words in duplicate, "The writer, Hasan Badr al-Din, son of Wazir
Nur al-Din, hath to Isaac the Jew all the cargo of the first of
his father's ships which cometh into port, for a thousand dinars,
and he hath received the price in advance." And after he had
taken one copy the Jew put it into his pouch and went away; but
Hasan fell a-weeping as he thought of the dignity and prosperity
which had erst been his and he began reciting:--

"This house, my lady, since you left is now a home no more * For
me, not neighbours, since you left, prove kind and
The friend, whilere I took to heart, alas! no more to me * Is
friend; and even Luna's self displayeth lunacy:
You left and by your going left the world a waste, a wolf, * And
lies a gloomy murk upon the face of hill and lea:
O may the raven-bird whose cry our hapless parting croaked *
Find ne'er a nesty home and eke shed all his plumery!
At length my patience fails me; and this absence wastes my
flesh; * How many a veil by severance rent our eyes are
doomed see:
Ah! shall I ever sight again our fair past nights of your; * And
shall a single house become a home for me once more?"

Then he wept with exceeding weeping and night came upon him; so
he leant his head against his father's grave and sleep overcame
him: Glory to him who sleepeth not! He ceased not slumbering
till the moon rose, when his head slipped from off the tomb and
he lay on his back, with limbs outstretched, his face shining
bright in the moonlight. Now the cemetery was haunted day and
night by Jinns who were of the True Believers, and presently came
out a Jinniyah who, seeing Hasan asleep, marvelled at his beauty
and loveliness and cried, "Glory to God! This youth can be none
other than one of the Wuldan of Paradise.[FN#399] Then she flew
firmament-wards to circle it, as was her custom, and met an Ifrit
on the wing who saluted her and she said to him, "Whence comest
thou?" "From Cairo," he replied. "Wilt thou come with me and
look upon the beauty of a youth who sleepeth in yonder burial
place?" she asked and he answered, "I will." So they flew till
they lighted at the tomb and she showed him the youth and said,
"Now diddest thou ever in thy born days see aught like this?"
The Ifrit looked upon him and exclaimed, "Praise be to Him that
hath no equal! But, O my sister, shall I tell thee what I have
seen this day?" Asked she, "What is that?" and he answered, "I
have seen the counterpart of this youth in the land of Egypt.
She is the daughter of the Wazir Shams al-Din and she is a model
of beauty and loveliness, of fairest favour and formous form, and
dight with symmetry and perfect grace. When she had reached the
age of nineteen, [FN#400] the Sultan of Egypt heard of her and,
sending for the Wazir her father, said to him, 'Hear me, O Wazir:
it hath reached mine ear that thou hast a daughter and I wish to
demand her of thee in marriage." The Wazir replied, "O our lord
the Sultan, deign accept my excuses and take compassion on my
sorrows, for thou knowest that my brother, who was partner with
me in the Wazirate, disappeared from amongst us many years ago
and we wot not where he is. Now the cause of his departure was
that one night, as we were sitting together and talking of wives
and children to come, we had words on the matter and he went off
in high dudgeon. But I swore that I would marry my daughter to
none save to the son of my brother on the day her mother gave her
birth, which was nigh upon nineteen years ago. I have lately
heard that my brother died at Bassorah, where he married the
daughter of the Wazir and that she bare him a son; and I will not
marry my daughter but to him in honour of my brother's memory. I
recorded the date of my marriage and the conception of my wife
and the birth of my daughter; and from her horoscope I find that
her name is conjoined with that of her cousin; [FN#401] and there
are damsels in foison for our lord the Sultan.' The King,
hearing his Minister's answer and refusal, waxed wroth with
exceeding wrath and cried, 'When the like of me asketh a girl in
marriage of the like of thee, he conferreth an honour, and thou
rejectest me and puttest me off with cold [FN#402] excuses! Now,
by the life of my head I will marry her to the meanest of my men
in spite of the nose of thee! [FN#403] There was in the palace a
horse-groom which was a Gobbo with a bunch to his breast and a
hunch to his back; and the Sultan sent for him and married him to
the daughter of the Wazir, lief or loath, and hath ordered a
pompous marriage procession for him and that he go in to his
bride this very night. I have now just flown hither from Cairo,
where I left the Hunchback at the door of the Hammam-bath amidst
the Sultan's white slaves who were waving lighted flambeaux about
him. As for the Minister's daughter she sitteth among her nurses
and tirewomen, weeping and wailing; for they have forbidden her
father to come near her. Never have I seen, O my sister, more
hideous being than this Hunchback [FN#404] whilest the young lady
is the likest of all folk to this young man, albeit even fairer
than he,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased her
permitted say.

When it was the Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Jinni narrated to the Jinniyah how the King had caused the
wedding contract to be drawn up between the hunchbacked groom and
the lovely young lady who was heart-broken for sorrow; and how
she was the fairest of created things and even more beautiful
than this youth, the Jinniyah cried at him "Thou liest! this
youth is handsomer than any one of his day." The Ifrit gave her
the lie again, adding, "By Allah, O my sister, the damsel I speak
of is fairer than this; yet none but he deserveth her, for they
resemble each other like brother and sister or at least cousins.
And, well-away! how she is wasted upon that Hunchback!" Then
said she, "O my brother, let us get under him and lift him up and
carry him to Cairo, that we may compare him with the damsel of
whom thou speakest and so determine whether of the twain is the
fairer." "To hear is to obey!" replied he, "thou speakest to the
point; nor is there a righter recking than this of thine, and I
myself will carry him." So he raised him from the ground and
flew with him like a bird soaring in upper air, the Ifritah
keeping close by his side at equal speed, till he alighted with
him in the city of Cairo and set him down on a stone bench and
woke him up. He roused himself and finding that he was no longer
at his father's tomb in Bassorah-city he looked right and left
and saw that he was in a strange place; and he would have cried
out; but the Ifrit gave him a cuff which persuaded him to keep
silence. Then he brought him rich raiment and clothed him
therein and, giving him a lighted flambeau, said, "Know that I
have brought thee hither, meaning to do thee a good turn for the
love of Allah: so take this torch and mingle with the people at
the Hammam-door and walk on with them without stopping till thou
reach the house of the wedding-festival; then go boldly forward
and enter the great saloon; and fear none, but take thy stand at
the right hand of the Hunchback bridegroom; and, as often as any
of the nurses and tirewomen and singing-girls come up to thee,
[FN#405] put thy hand into thy pocket which thou wilt find filled
with gold. Take it out and throw it to them and spare not; for
as often as thou thrustest fingers in pouch thou shalt find it
full of coin. Give largesse by handsful and fear nothing, but
set thy trust upon Him who created thee, for this is not by thine
own strength but by that of Allah Almighty, that His decrees may
take effect upon his creatures." When Badr al-Din Hasan heard
these words from the Ifrit he said to himself, "Would Heaven I
knew what all this means and what is the cause of such kindness!"
However, he mingled with the people and, lighting his flambeau,
moved on with the bridal procession till he came to the bath
where he found the Hunchback already on horseback. Then he
pushed his way in among the crowd, a veritable beauty of a man in
the finest apparel, wearing tarbush [FN#406] and turband and a
long-sleeved robe purfled with gold; and, as often as the
singing-women stopped for the people to give them largesse, he
thrust his hand into his pocket and, finding it full of gold,
took out a handful and threw it on the tambourine [FN#407] till
he had filled it with gold pieces for the music-girls and the
tirewomen. The singers were amazed by his bounty and the people
marvelled at his beauty and loveliness and the splendour of his
dress. He ceased not to do thus till he reached the mansion of
the Wazir (who was his uncle), where the Chamberlains drove back
the people and forbade them to go forward; but the singing-girls
and the tirewomen said, "By Allah we will not enter unless this
young man enter with us, for he hath given us length o' life with
his largesse and we will not display the bride unless he be
present." Therewith they carried him into the bridal hall and
made him sit down defying the evil glances of the hunchbacked
bridegroom. The wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Chamberlains
and Courtiers all stood in double line, each holding a massy
cierge ready lighted; all wore thin face-veils and the two rows
right and left extended from the bride's throne [FN#408] to the
head of the hall adjoining the chamber whence she was to come
forth. When the ladies saw Badr al-Din Hasan and noted his
beauty and loveliness and his face that shone like the new moon,
their hearts inclined to him and the singing-girls said to all
that were present, "Know that this beauty crossed our hands with
naught but red gold; so be not chary to do him womanly service
and comply with all he says, no matter what he ask. [FN#409] So
all the women crowded around Hasan with their torches and gazed
upon his loveliness and envied him his beauty; and one and all
would gladly have lain on his bosom an hour or rather a year.
Their hearts were so troubled that they let fall their veils from
before their faces and said, "Happy she who belongeth to this
youth or to whom he belongeth!"; and they called down curses on
the crooked groom and on him who was the cause of his marriage to
the girl-beauty; and as often as they blessed Badr al-Din Hasan
they damned the Hunchback, saying, "Verily this youth and none
else deserveth our Bride: Ah, well-away for such a lovely one
with this hideous Quasimodo; Allah's curse light on his head and
on the Sultan who commanded the marriage!" Then the singing-
girls beat their tabrets and lulliloo'd with joy, announcing the
appearing of the bride; and the Wazir's daughter came in
surrounded by her tirewomen who had made her goodly to look upon;
for they had perfumed her and incensed her and adorned her hair;
and they had robed her in raiment and ornaments befitting the
mighty Chosroes Kings. The most notable part of her dress was a
loose robe worn over her other garments; it was diapered in red
gold with figures of wild beasts, and birds whose eyes and beaks
were of gems, and claws of red rubies and green beryl; and her
neck was graced with a necklace of Yamani work, worth thousands
of gold pieces, whose bezels were great round jewels of sorts,
the like of which was never owned by Kaysar or by Tobba King.
[FN#410] And the bride was as the full moon when at fullest on
fourteenth night; and as she paced into the hall she was like one
of the Houris of Heaven--praise be to Him who created her in such
splendour of beauty! The ladies encompassed her as the white
contains the black of the eye, they clustering like stars whilst
she shone amongst them like the moon when it eats up the clouds.
Now Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah was sitting in full gaze of the
folk, when the bride came forward with her graceful swaying and
swimming gait, and her hunchbacked groom stood up to meet
[FN#411] and receive her: she, however, turned away from the
wight and walked forward till she stood before her cousin Hasan,
the son of her uncle. Whereat the people laughed. But when the
wedding-guests saw her thus attracted towards Badr al-Din they
made a mighty clamour and the singing-women shouted their
loudest; whereupon he put his hand into his pocket and, pulling
out a handful of gold, cast it into their tambourines and the
girls rejoiced and said, "Could we win our wish this bride were
thine!" At this he smiled and the folk came round him, flambeaux
in hand like the eyeball round the pupil, while the Gobbo
bridegroom was left sitting alone much like a tail-less baboon;
for every time they lighted a candle for him it went out willy-
nilly, so he was left in darkness and silence and looking at
naught but himself. [FN#412] When Badr al-Din Hasan saw the
bridegroom sitting lonesome in the dark, and all the wedding-
guests with their flambeaux and wax candles crowding around
himself, he was bewildered and marvelled much; but when he looked
at his cousin, the daughter of his uncle, he rejoiced and felt an
inward delight: he longed to greet her and gazed intently on her
face which was radiant with light and brilliancy. Then the
tirewomen took off her veil and displayed her in the first bridal
dress which was of scarlet satin; and Hasan had a view of her
which dazzled his sight and dazed his wits, as she moved to and
fro, swaying with graceful gait; [FN#413] and she turned the
heads of all the guests, women as well as men, for she was even
as saith the surpassing poet:--

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed * Clad in her
cramoisy-hued chemisette:
Of her lips honey-dew she gave me drink, * And with her rosy
cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they changed that dress and displayed her in a robe of
azure; and she reappeared like the full moon when it riseth over
the horizon, with her coal-black hair and cheeks delicately fair;
and teeth shown in sweet smiling and breasts firm rising and
crowning sides of the softest and waist of the roundest. And in
this second suit she was as a certain master of high conceits
saith of the like of her:--

She came apparrelled in an azure vest, * Ultramarine, as skies
are deckt and dight;
I view'd th' unparrellel'd sight, which show'd my eyes * A moon
of Summer on a Winter-night.

Then they changed that suit for another and, veiling her face in
the luxuriance of her hair, loosed her lovelocks, so dark, so
long that their darkness and length outvied the darkest nights,
and she shot through all hearts with the magical shaft of her
eye-babes. They displayed her in the third dress and she was as
said of her the sayer:--

Veiling her cheeks with hair a-morn she comes, * And I her
mischiefs with the cloud compare:
Saying, "Thou veilest morn with night!" "Ah, no!" * Quoth she,
"I shroud full moon with darkling air!"

Then they displayed her in the fourth bridal dress and she came
forward shining like the rising sun and swaying to and fro with
lovesome grace and supple ease like a gazelle-fawn. And she
clave all hearts with the arrows of her eyelashes, even as saith
one who described a charmer like her:--

The sun of beauty she to sight appears * And, lovely-coy, she
mocks all loveliness;
And when he fronts her favour and her smile * A-morn, the Sun of
day in clouds must dress.

Then she came forth in the fifth dress, a very light of
loveliness like a wand of waving willow or a gazelle of the
thirsty wold. Those locks which stung like scorpions along her
cheeks were bent, and her neck was bowed in blandishment, and her
hips quivered as she went. As saith one of the poets describing
her in verse:--

She comes like fullest moon on happy night; * Taper of waist,
with shape of magic might:
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind, * And Ruby on her
cheeks reflects his light:
Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair; *Beware of curls that
bite with viper-bite!
Her sides are silken-soft, the while the heart * Mere rock behind
that surface lurks from sight:
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots * Shafts which
at farthest range on mark alight:
When round her neck or waist I throw my arms * Her breasts repel
me with their hardened height.
Ah, how her beauty all excels! ah how * That shape transcends the
graceful waving bough!

Then they adorned her with the sixth toilette, a dress which was
green. And now she shamed her slender straightness the nut-brown
spear; her radiant face dimmed the brightest beams of full moon
and she outdid the bending branches in gentle movement and
flexible grace. Her loveliness exalted the beauties of earth's
four quarters and she broke men's hearts by the significance of
her semblance; for she was even as saith one of the poets in
these lines:--

A damsel 'twas the tirer's art had decked with snares and
sleight.[FN#414] * And robed in rays as though the sun from
her had borrowed light:
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green, * As
veiled by its leafy screen pomegranate hides from sight:
And when he said "How callest thou the manner of thy dress?" *
She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight;
"We call this garment creve-coeur; and rightly is it hight, * For
many a heart wi' this we broke [FN#415] and conquered many
a sprite!"

Then they displayed her in the seventh dress, coloured between
safflower [FN#416] and saffron, even as one of the poets saith:--

In vest of saffron pale and safflower red * Musk'd, sandal'd
ambergris'd, she came to front:
"Rise!" cried her youth, "go forth and show thyself!" * "Sit!"
said her hips, "we cannot bear the brunt!"
And when I craved a bout, her Beauty said * "Do, do!" and said
her pretty shame, "Don't, don't!"

Thus they displayed the bride in all her seven toilettes before
Hasan al-Basri, wholly neglecting the Gobbo who sat moping alone;
and, when she opened her eyes [FN#417] she said, "O Allah make
this man my goodman and deliver me from the evil of this
hunchbacked groom." As soon as they had made an end of this part
of the ceremony they dismissed the wedding guests who went forth,
women, children and all, and none remained save Hasan and the
Hunchback, whilst the tirewomen led the bride into an inner room
to change her garb and gear and get her ready for the bridegroom.
Thereupon Quasimodo came up to Badr al-Din Hasan and said, "O my
lord, thou hast cheered us this night with thy good company and
overwhelmed us with thy kindness and courtesy; but now why not
get thee up and go?" "Bismallah," he answered, "In Allah's name
so be it!" and rising, he went forth by the door, where the Ifrit
met him and said, "Stay in thy stead, O Badr al-Din, and when the
Hunchback goes out to the closet of ease go in without losing
time and seat thyself in the alcove; and when the bride comes say
to her, "'Tis I am thy husband, for the King devised this trick
only fearing for thee the evil eye, and he whom thou sawest is
but a Syce, a groom, one of our stablemen.' Then walk boldly up
to her and unveil her face; for jealousy hath taken us of this
matter." While Hasan was still talking with the Ifrit behold,
the groom fared forth from the hall and entering the closet of
ease sat down on the stool. Hardly had he done this when the
Ifrit came out of the tank, [FN#418] wherein the water was, in
semblance of a mouse and squeaked out "Zeek!" Quoth the
Hunchback, "What ails thee?"; and the mouse grew and grew till it
became a coal-black cat and caterwauled "Meeao! Meeao!"[FN#419]
Then it grew still more and more till it became a dog and barked
out "Owh! Owh!" When the bridegroom saw this he was frightened
and exclaimed "Out with thee, O unlucky one!" [FN#420] But the
dog grew and swelled till it became an ass-colt that brayed and
snorted in his face "Hauk! Hauk!" [FN#421] Whereupon the
Hunchback quaked and cried, "Come to my aid, O people of the
house!" But behold, the ass-colt grew and became big as a
buffalo and walled the way before him and spake with the voice of
the sons of Adam, saying, "Woe to thee, O thou Bunch-back, thou
stinkard, O thou filthiest of grooms!" Hearing this the groom
was seized with a colic and he sat down on the jakes in his
clothes with teeth chattering and knocking together. Quoth the
Ifrit, "Is the world so strait to thee thou findest none to marry
save my lady-love?" But as he was silent the Ifrit continued,
"Answer me or I will do thee dwell in the dust!" "By Allah,"
replied the Gobbo, "O King of the Buffaloes, this is no fault of
mine, for they forced me to wed her; and verily I wot not that
she had a lover among the buffaloes; but now I repent, first
before Allah and then before thee." Said the Ifrit to him, "I
swear to thee that if thou fare forth from this place, or thou
utter a word before sunrise, I assuredly will wring thy neck.
When the sun rises wend thy went and never more return to this
house." So saying, the Ifrit took up the Gobbo bridegroom and
set him head downwards and feet upwards in the slit of the privy,
[FN#422] and said to him, "I will leave thee here but I shall be
on the look-out for thee till sunrise; and, if thou stir before
then, I will seize thee by the feet and dash out thy brains
against the wall: so look out for thy life!" Thus far concerning
the Hunchback, but as regards Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah he
left the Gobbo and the Ifrit jangling and wrangling and, going
into the house, sat him down in the very middle of the alcove;
and behold, in came the bride attended by an old woman who stood
at the door and said, "O Father of Uprightness, [FN#423] arise
and take what God giveth thee." Then the old woman went away and
the bride, Sitt al-Husn or the Lady of Beauty hight, entered the
inner part of the alcove broken-hearted and saying in herself,
"By Allah I will never yield my person to him; no, not even were
he to take my life!" But as she came to the further end she saw
Badr al-Din Hasan and she said, "Dearling! Art thou still sitting
here? By Allah I was wishing that thou wert my bridegroom or, at
least, that thou and the hunchbacked horse-groom were partners in
me." He replied, "O beautiful lady, how should the Syce have
access to thee, and how should he share in thee with me?"
"Then," quoth she, "who is my husband, thou or he?" "Sitt al-
Husn," rejoined Hasan, "we have not done this for mere fun,
[FN#424] but only as a device to ward off the evil eye from thee;
for when the tirewomen and singers and wedding guests saw they
beauty being displayed to me, they feared fascination and thy
father hired the horse-groom for ten dinars and a porringer of
meat to take the evil eye off us; and now he hath received his
hire and gone his gait." When the Lady of Beauty heard these
words she smiled and rejoiced and laughed a pleasant laugh. Then
she whispered him, "By the Lord thou hast quenched a fire which
tortured me and now, by Allah, O my little dark-haired darling,
take me to thee and press me to thy bosom!" Then she began

"By Allah, set thy foot upon my soul; * Since long, long years
for this alone I long:
And whisper tale of love in ear of me; * To me 'tis sweeter than
the sweetest song!
No other youth upon my heart shall lie; * So do it often, dear,
and do it long."

Then she stripped off her outer gear and she threw open her
chemise from the neck downwards and showed her parts genital and
all the rondure of her hips. When Badr al-Din saw the glorious
sight his desires were roused, and he arose and doffed her
clothes, and wrapping up in his bag-trousers [FN#425] the purse
of gold which he had taken from the Jew and which contained the
thousand dinars, he laid it under the edge of the bedding. Then
he took off his turband and set it upon the settle [FN#426] atop
of his other clothes, remaining in his skull-cap and fine shirt
of blue silk laced with gold. Whereupon the Lady of Beauty drew
him to her and he did likewise. Then he took her to his embrace
and set her legs round his waist and point-blanked that cannon
[FN#427] placed where it battereth down the bulwark of maidenhead
and layeth it waste. And he found her a pearl unpierced and
unthridden and a filly by all men save himself unridden; and he
abated her virginity and had joyance of her youth in his virility
and presently he withdrew sword from sheath; and then returned to
the fray right eath; and when the battle and the siege had
finished, some fifteen assaults he had furnished and she
conceived by him that very night. Then he laid his hand under
her head and she did the same and they embraced and fell asleep
in each other's arms, as a certain poet said of such lovers in
these couplets:--

Visit thy lover, spurn what envy told; * No envious churl shall
smile on love ensoul'd.
Merciful Allah made no fairer sight * Than coupled lovers single
couch doth hold;
Breast pressing breast and robed in joys their own, * With
pillowed forearms cast in finest mould:
And when heart speaks to heart with tongue of love, * Folk who
would part them hammer steel ice-cold:
If a fair friend[FN#428] thou find who cleaves to thee, * Live
for that friend, that friend in heart enfold.
O ye who blame for love us lover kind * Say, can ye minister to
diseased mind?

This much concerning Badr al-Hasan and Sitt al-Husn his cousin;
but as regards the Ifrit, as soon as he saw the twain asleep, he
said to the Ifritah, "Arise, slip thee under the youth and let us
carry him back to his place ere dawn overtake us; for the day is
nearhand." Thereupon she came forward and, getting under him as
he lay asleep, took him up clad only in his fine blue shirt,
leaving the rest of his garments; and ceased not flying (and the
Ifrit vying with her in flight) till the dawn advised them that
it had come upon them mid-way, and the Muezzin began his call
from the Minaret, "Haste ye to salvation! Haste ye to
salvation!" [FN#429] Then Allah suffered his angelic host to
shoot down the Ifrit with a shooting star, [FN#430] so he was
consumed, but the Ifritah escaped and she descended with Badr al-
Din at the place where the Ifrit was burnt, and did not carry him
back to Bassorah, fearing lest he come to harm. Now by the order
of Him who predestineth all things, they alighted at Damascus of
Syria, and the Ifritah set down her burden at one of the city-
gates and flew away. When day arose and the doors were opened,
the folks who came forth saw a handsome youth, with no other
raiment but his blue shirt of gold-embroidered silk and skull-
cap,[FN#431] lying upon the ground drowned in sleep after the
hard labour of the night which had not suffered him to take his
rest. So the folk looking at him said, "O her luck with whom
this one spent the night! but would he had waited to don his
garments." Quoth another, "A sorry lot are the sons of great
families! Haply he but now came forth of the tavern on some
occasion of his own and his wine flew to his head,[FN#432]
whereby he hath missed the place he was making for and strayed
till he came to the gate of the city; and finding it shut lay him
down and to by-by!" As the people were bandying guesses about
him suddenly the morning breeze blew upon Badr al-Din and raising
his shirt to his middle showed a stomach and navel with something
below it, [FN#433] and legs and thighs clear as crystal and
smooth as cream. Cried the people, "By Allah he is a pretty
fellow!"; and at the cry Badr al-din awoke and found himself
lying at a city-gate with a crowd gathered around him. At this
he greatly marvelled and asked, "Where am I, O good folk; and
what causeth you thus to gather round me, and what have I had to
do with you?"; and they answered, "We found thee lying here
asleep during the call to dawn-prayer and this is all we know of
the matter, but where diddest thou lie last night?" [FN#434] "By
Allah, O good people," replied he, "I lay last night in Cairo."
Said somebody, "Thou hast surely been eating Hashish," [FN#435]
and another, "He is a fool;" and a third, "He is a citrouille;"
and a fourth asked him, "Art thou out of thy mind? thou sleepest
in Cairo and thou wakest in the morning at the gate of Damascus-
city!" [FN#436] Cried he, "By Allah, my good people, one and
all, I lie not to you: indeed I lay yesternight in the land of
Egypt and yesternoon I was at Bassorah." Quoth one, "Well!
well!"; and quoth another, "Ho! ho!"; and a third, "So! so!"; and
a fourth cried, "This youth is mad, is possessed of the Jinni!"
So they clapped hands at him and said to one another, "Alas, the
pity of it for his youth: by Allah a madman! and madness is no
respecter of persons." Then they said to him, "Collect thy wits
and return to thy reason! How couldest thou be in Bassorah
yesterday and Cairo yesternight and withal awake in Damascus this
morning?" But he persisted, "Indeed I was a bridegroom in Cairo
last night." "Belike thou hast been dreaming," rejoined they,
"and sawest all this in thy sleep." So Hasan took thought for a
while and said to them, "By Allah, this is no dream; nor vision-
like doth it seem! I certainly was in Cairo where they displayed
the bride before me, in presence of a third person, the Hunchback
groom who was sitting hard by. By Allah, O my brother, this be
no dream, and if it were a dream, where is the bag of gold I bore
with me and where are my turband and my robe, and my trousers?"
Then he rose and entered the city, threading its highways and by-
ways and bazar-streets; and the people pressed upon him and
jeered at him, crying out "Madman! madman!" till he, beside
himself with rage, took refuge in a cook's shop. Now that Cook
had been a trifle too clever, that is, a rogue and thief; but
Allah had made him repent and turn from his evil ways and open a
cook-shop; and all the people of Damascus stood in fear of his
boldness and his mischief. So when the crowd saw the youth enter
his shop, they dispersed being afraid of him, and went their
ways. The Cook looked at Badr al-Din and, noting his beauty and
loveliness, fell in love with him forthright and said, "Whence
comest thou, O youth? Tell me at once thy tale, for thou art
become dearer to me than my soul." So Hasan recounted to him all
that had befallen him from beginning to end (but in repetition
there is no fruition) and the Cook said, "O my lord Badr al-Din,
doubtless thou knowest that this case is wondrous and this story
marvellous; therefore, O my son, hide what hath betided thee,
till Allah dispel what ills be thine; and tarry with me here the
meanwhile, for I have no child and I will adopt thee." Badr al-
Din replied, "Be it as thou wilt, O my uncle!" Whereupon the
Cook went to the bazar and bought him a fine suit of clothes and
made him don it; then fared with him to the Kazi, and formally
declared that he was his son. So Badr al-Din Hasan became known
in Damascus-city as the Cook's son and he sat with him in the
shop to take the silver, and on this wise he sojourned there for
a time. Thus far concerning him; but as regards his cousin, the
Lady of Beauty, when morning dawned she awoke and missed Badr al-
Din Hasan from her side; but she thought that he had gone to the
privy and she sat expecting him for an hour or so; when behold,
entered her father Shams al-Din Mohammed, Wazir of Egypt. Now he
was disconsolate by reason of what had befallen him through the
Sultan, who had entreated him harshly and had married his
daughter by force to the lowest of his menials and he too a lump
of a groom bunch-backed withal, and he said to himself, "I will
slay this daughter of mine if of her own free will she have
yielded her person to this acursed carle." So he came to the
door of the bride's private chamber and said, "Ho! Sitt al-
Husn." She answered him, "Here am I! here am I!" [FN#437] O my
lord," and came out unsteady of gait after the pains and
pleasures of the night; and she kissed his hand, her face showing
redoubled brightness and beauty for having lain in the arms of
that gazelle, her cousin. When her father, the Wazir, saw her in
such case, he asked her, "O thou accursed, art thou rejoicing
because of this horse-groom?", and Sitt al-Husn smiled sweetly
and answered, "By Allah, don't ridicule me: enough of what passed
yesterday when folk laughed at me, and evened me with that groom-
fellow who is not worthy to bring my husband's shoes or slippers;
nay who is not worth the paring of my husband's nails! By the
Lord, never in my life have I nighted a night so sweet as
yesternight!, so don't mock by reminding me of the Gobbo." When
her parent heard her words he was filled with fury, and his eyes
glared and stared, so that little of them showed save the whites
and he cried, "Fie upon thee! What words are these? 'Twas the
hunchbacked horse-groom who passed the night with thee!" "Allah
upon thee," replied the Lady of Beauty, "do not worry me about
the Gobbo, Allah damn his father; [FN#438] and leave jesting with
me; for this groom was only hired for ten dinars and a porringer
of meat and he took his wage and went his way. As for me I
entered the bridal-chamber, where I found my true bridegroom
sitting, after the singer-women had displayed me to him; the same
who had crossed their hands with red gold, till every pauper that
was present waxed wealthy; and I passed the night on the breast
of my bonny man, a most lively darling, with his black eyes and
joined eyebrows." [FN#439] When her parent heard these words the
light before his face became night, and he cried out at her
saying, "O thou whore! What is this thou tellest me? Where be
thy wits?" "O my father," she rejoined, "thou breakest my heart;
enough for thee that thou hast been so hard upon me! Indeed my
husband who took my virginity is but just now gone to the
draught-house and I feel that I have conceived by him." [FN#440]
The Wazir rose in much marvel and entered the privy where he
found the hunchbacked groom with his head in the hole, and his
heels in the air. At this sight he was confounded and said,
"This is none other than he, the rascal Hunchback!" So he called
to him, "Ho Hunchback!" The Gobbo grunted out, "Taghum! Taghum!"
[FN#441] thinking it was the Ifrit spoke to him; so the Wazir
shouted at him and said, "Speak out, or I'll strike off thy pate
with this sword." Then quoth the Hunchback, "By Allah, O Shaykh
of the Ifrits, ever since thou settest me in this place, I have
not lifted my head; so Allah upon thee, take pity and entreat me
kindly!" When the Wazir heard this he asked, "What is this thou
sayest? I'm bride's father and no Ifrit." "Enough for thee that
thou hast well nigh done me die, " answered Quasimodo; "now go
thy ways before he come upon thee who hath served me thus. Could
ye not marry me to any save the lady-love of buffaloes and the
beloved of Ifrits? Allah curse her and curse him who married me
to her and was the cause of this my case,"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day, and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Twenty-third Night,

Said she, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
hunchbacked groom spake to the bride's father saying, "Allah
curse him who was the cause of this my case!" Then said the
Wazir to him, "Up and out of this place!" "Am I mad," cried the
groom, "that I should go with thee without leave of the Ifrit
whose last words to me were:--"When the sun rises, arise and go
they gait." So hath the sun risen or no?; for I dare not budge
from this place till then." Asked the Wazir, "Who brought thee
hither?"; and he answered "I came here yesternight for a call of
nature and to do what none can do for me, when lo! a mouse came
out of the water, and squeaked at me and swelled and waxed gross
till it was big as a buffalo, and spoke to me words that entered
my ears. Then he left me here and went away, Allah curse the
bride and him who married me to her!" The Wazir walked up to him
and lifted his head out of the cesspool hole; and he fared forth
running for dear life and hardly crediting that the sun had
risen; and repaired to the Sultan to whom he told all that had
befallen him with the Ifrit. But the Wazir returned to the
bride's private chamber, sore troubled in spirit about her, and
said to her, "O my daughter, explain this strange matter to me!"
Quoth she, "Tis simply this. The bridegroom to whom they
displayed me yestereve lay with me all night, and took my
virginity and I am with child by him. He is my husband and if
thou believe me not, there are his turband, twisted as it was,
lying on the settle and his dagger and his trousers beneath the
bed with a something, I wot not what, wrapped up in them." When
her father heard this he entered the private chamber and found
the turband which had been left there by Badr al-Din Hasan, his
brother's son, and he took it in hand and turned it over, saying,
"This is the turband worn by Wazirs, save that it is of Mosul
stuff." [FN#442] So he opened it and, finding what seemed to be
an amulet sewn up in the Fez, he unsewed the lining and took it
out; then he lifted up the trousers wherein was the purse of the
thousand gold pieces and, opening that also, found in it a
written paper. This he read and it was the sale-receipt of the
Jew in the name of Badr al-Din Hasan, son of Nur al-Din Ali, the
Egyptian; and the thousand dinars were also there. No sooner had
Shams al-Din read this than he cried out with a loud cry and fell
to the ground fainting; and as soon as he revived and understood
the gist of the matter he marvelled and said, "There is no God,
but the God, who All-might is over all things! Knowest thou, O
my daughter, who it was that became the husband of thy
virginity?" "No," answered she, and he said, "Verily he is the
son of my brother, thy cousin, and this thousand dinars is thy
dowry. Praise be to Allah! and would I wot how this matter came
about!" then opened he the amulet which was sewn up and found
therein a paper in the handwriting of his deceased brother, Nur
al-Din the Egyptian, father of Badr al-Din Hasan; and, when he
saw the hand-writing, he kissed it again and again; and he wept
and wailed over his dead brother and improvised this lines:--

"I see their traces and with pain I melt, * And on their whilome
homes I weep and yearn:
And Him I pray who dealt this parting-blow * Some day he deign
vouchsafe a safe return." [FN#443]

When he ceased versifying, he read the scroll and found in it
recorded the dates of his brother's marriage with the daughter of
the Wazir of Bassorah, and of his going in to her, and her
conception, and the birth of Badr al-Din Hasan and all his
brother's history and doings up to his dying day. So he
marvelled much and shook with joy and, comparing the dates with
his own marriage and going in to his wife and the birth of their
daughter, Sitt al-Husn, he found that they perfectly agreed. So
he took the document and, repairing with it to the Sultan,
acquainted him with what had passed, from first to last; whereat
the King marvelled and commanded the case to be at once recorded.
[FN#444] The Wazir abode that day expecting to see his brother's
son but he came not; and he waited a second day, a third day and
so on to the seventh day, without any tidings of him. So he
said, "By Allah, I will do a deed such as none hath ever done
before me!"; and he took reed-pen and ink and drew upon a sheet
of paper the plan of the whole house, showing whereabouts was the
private chamber with the curtain in such a place and the
furniture in such another and so on with all that was in the
room. Then he folded up the sketch and, causing all the
furniture to be collected, he took Badr al-Din's garments and the
turband and Fez and robe and purse, and carried the whole to his
house and locked them up, against the coming of his nephew, Badr
al-Din Hasan, the son of his lost brother, with an iron padlock
on which he set his seal. As for the Wazir's daughter, when her
tale of months was fulfilled, she bare a son like the full moon,
the image of his father in beauty and loveliness and fair
proportions and perfect grace. They cut his navel-string
[FN#445] and Kohl'd his eyelids to strengthen his eyes, and gave
him over to the nurses and nursery governesses, [FN#446] naming
him Ajib, the Wonderful. His day was as a month and his month
was as a year; [FN#447] and, when seven years had passed over
him, his grandfather sent him to school, enjoining the master to
teach him Koran-reading, and to educate him well. he remained at
the school four years, till he began to bully his schoolfellows
and abuse them and bash them and thrash them and say, "Who among
you is like me? I am the son of Wazir of Egypt!" At last the
boys came in a body to the Monitor [FN#448] of what hard usage
they were wont to have from Ajib, and he said to them, "I will
tell you somewhat you may do to him so that he shall leave off
coming to the school, and it is this. When he enters to-morrow,
sit ye down about him and say some one of you to some other, 'By
Allah none shall play with us at this game except he tell us the
names of his mamma and his papa; for he who knows not the names
of his mother and his father is a bastard, a son of adultery,
[FN#449] and he shall not play with us.'" When morning dawned
the boys came to school, Ajib being one of them, and all flocked
around him saying, "We will play a game wherein none can join
save he can tell the name of his mamma and his papa." And they
all cried, "By Allah, good!" Then quoth one of them, "My name is
Majid and my mammy's name is Alawiyah and my daddy's Izz al-Din."
Another spoke in like guise and yet a third, till Ajid's turn
came, and he said, "MY name is Ajib, and my mother's is Sitt al-
Husn, and my father's Shams al-Din, the Wazir of Cairo." "By
Allah," cried they, "the Wazir is not thy true father." Ajib
answered, "The Wazir is my father in very deed." Then the boys
all laughed and clapped their hands at him, saying "He does not
know who is his papa: get out from among us, for none shall play
with us except he know his father's name." Thereupon they
dispersed from around him and laughed him to scorn; so his breast
was straitened and he well nigh choked with tears and hurt
feelings. Then said the Monitor to him, "We know that the Wazir
is thy grandfather, the father of thy mother, Sitt al-Husn, and
not thy father. As for thy father, neither dost thou know him
nor yet do we; for the Sultan married thy mother to the
hunchbacked horse-groom; but the Jinni came and slept with her
and thou hast no known father. Leave, then, comparing thyself
too advantageously with the little ones of the school, till thou
know that thou hast a lawful father; for until then thou wilt
pass for a child of adultery amongst them. Seest thou that not
even a huckster's son knoweth his own sire? Thy grandfather is
the Wazir of Egypt; but as for thy father we wot him not and we
say indeed that thou hast none. So return to thy sound senses!"
When Ajib heard these insulting words from the Monitor and the
school boys and understood the reproach they put upon him, he
went out at once and ran to his mother, Sitt al-Husn, to
complain; but he was crying so bitterly that his tears prevented
his speech for a while. When she heard his sobs and saw his
tears her heart burned as though with fire for him, and she said,
"O my son, why dost thou weep? Allah keep the tears from thine
eyes! Tell me what hath betided thee?" So he told her all that
he heard from the boys and from the Monitor and ended with
asking, "And who, O my mother, is my father?" She answered, "Thy
father is the Wazir of Egypt;" but he said, "Do not lie to me.
The Wazir is thy father, not mine! who then is my father? Except
thou tell me the very truth I will kill myself with this hanger."
[FN#450] When his mother heard him speak of his father she wept,
remembering her cousin and her bridal night with him and all that
occurred thereon and then, and she repeated these couplets:--

"Love in my heart they lit and went their ways, * And all I
love to furthest lands withdrew;
And when they left me sufferance also left, * And when we parted
Patience bade adieu:
They fled and flying with my joys they fled, * In very
consistency my spirit flew:
They made my eyelids flow with severance tears * And to the
parting-pang these drops are due:
And when I long to see reunion-day, * My groans prolonging sore
for ruth I sue:
Then in my heart of hearts their shapes I trace, * And love and
longing care and cark renew:
O ye, whose names cling round me like a cloak, * Whose love yet
closer than a shirt I drew,
Beloved ones! how long this hard despite? * How long this
severance and this coy shy flight?"

Then she wailed and shrieked aloud and her son did the like; and
behold, in came the Wazir whose heart burnt within him at the
sight of their lamentations, and he said, "What makes you weep?"
So the Lady of Beauty acquainted him with what had happened
between her son and the school boys; and he also wept, calling to
mind his brother and what had past between them and what had
betided his daughter and how he had failed to find out what
mystery there was in the matter. Then he rose at once and,
repairing to the audience-hall, went straight to the King and
told his tale and craved his permission [FN#451] to travel
eastward to the city of Bassorah and ask after his brother's son.
Furthermore, he besought the Sultan to write for him letters
patent, authorising him to seize upon Badr al-Din, his nephew and
son-in-law, wheresoever he might find him. And he wept before
the King, who had pity on him and wrote royal autographs to his
deputies in all climes [FN#452] and countries and cities; whereat
the Wazir rejoiced and prayed for blessings on him. Then, taking
leave of his Sovereign, he returned to his house, where he
equipped himself and his daughter and his adopted child Ajib,
with all things meet for a long march; and set out and travelled
the first day and the second and the third and so forth till he
arrived at Damascus-city. He found it a fair place abounding in
trees and streams, even as the poet said of it:--

When I nighted and dayed in Damascus town, * Time sware such
another he ne'er should view:
And careless we slept under wing of night, * Till dappled Morn
'gan her smiles renew:
And dew-drops on branch in their beauty hung, * Like pearls to be
dropt when the Zephyr blew:
And the Lake [FN#453] was the page where birds read and note, *
And the clouds set points to what breezes wrote.

The Wazir encamped on the open space called Al-Hasa; [FN#454]
and, after pitching tents, said to his servants, "A halt here for
two days!" So they went into the city upon their several
occasions, this to sell and this to buy; this to go to the Hammam
and that to visit the Cathedral-mosque of the Banu Umayyah, the
Ommiades, whose like is not in this world. [FN#455] Ajib also
went, with his attendant eunuch, for solace and diversion to the
city and the servant followed with a quarter-staff [FN#456] of
almond-wood so heavy that if he struck a camel therewith the
beast would never rise again. [FN#457] When the people of
Damascus saw Ajib's beauty and brilliancy and perfect grace and
symmetry (for he was a marvel of comeliness and winning
loveliness, softer than the cool breeze of the North, sweeter
than limpid waters to a man in drowth, and pleasanter than the
health for which sick man sueth), a mighty many followed him,
whilest others ran on before, and sat down on the road until he
should come up, that they might gaze on him, till, as Destiny had
decreed, the Eunuch stopped opposite the shop of Ajib's father,
Badr al-Din Hasan. Now his beard had grown long and thick and
his wits had ripened during the twelve years which had passed
over him, and the Cook and ex-rogue having died, the so-called
Hasan of Bassorah had succeeded to his goods and shop, for that
he had been formally adopted before the Kazi and witnesses. When
his son and the Eunuch stepped before him he gazed on Ajib and,
seeing how very beautiful he was, his heart fluttered and
throbbed, and blood drew to blood and natural affection spake out
and his bowels yearned over him. He had just dressed a conserve
of pomegranate-grains with sugar, and Heaven-implanted love
wrought within him; so he called to his son Ajib and said, "O my
lord, O thou who hast gotten the mastery of my heart and my very
vitals and to whom my bowels yearn; say me, wilt thou enter my
house and solace my soul by eating of my meat?" Then his eyes
streamed with tears which he could not stay, for he bethought him
of what he had been and what he had become. When Ajib heard his
father's words his heart also yearned himwards and he looked at
the Eunuch and said to him, "Of a truth, O my good guard, my
heart yearns to this cook; he is as one that hath a son far away
from him: so let us enter and gladden his heart by tasting of his
hospitality. Perchance for our so doing Allah may reunite me
with my father." When the Eunuch heard these words he cried, "A
fine thing this, by Allah! Shall the sons of Wazirs be seen
eating in a common cook-shop? Indeed I keep off the folk from
thee with this quarter-staff lest they even look upon thee; and I
dare not suffer thee to enter this shop at all." When Hasan of
Bassorah heard his speech he marvelled and turned to the Eunuch
with the tears pouring down his cheeks; and Ajib said, "Verily my
heart loves him!" But he answered, "Leave this talk, thou shalt
not go in." Thereupon the father turned to the Eunuch and said,
"O worthy sir, why wilt thou not gladden my soul by entering my
shop? O thou who art like a chestnut, dark without but white of
heart within! O thou of the like of whom a certain poet said * *
*" The Eunuch burst out a-laughing and asked--"Said what? Speak
out by Allah and be quick about it." So Hasan the Bassorite
began reciting these couplets:--

"If not master of manners or aught but discreet * In the
household of Kings no trust could he take:
And then for the Harem! what Eunuch [FN#458] is he * Whom
angels would serve for his service sake."

The Eunuch marvelled and was pleased at these words, so he took
Ajib by the hand and went into the cook's shop: whereupon Hasan
the Bassorite ladled into a saucer some conserve of pomegranate-
grains wonderfully good, dressed with almonds and sugar, saying,
"You have honoured me with your company: eat then and health and
happiness to you!" Thereupon Ajib said to his father, "Sit thee
down and eat with us; so perchance Allah may unite us with him we
long for." Quoth Hasan, "O my son, hast thou then been afflicted
in thy tender years with parting from those thou lovest?" Quoth
Ajib, "Even so, O nuncle mine; my heart burns for the loss of a
beloved one who is non other than my father; and indeed I come
forth, I and my grandfather, [FN#459] to circle and search the
world for him. Oh, the pity of it, and how I long to meet him!"
Then he wept with exceeding for his own bereavement, which
recalled to him his long separation from dear friends and from
his mother; and the Eunuch was moved to pity for him. Then they
ate together till they were satisfied; and Ajib and the slave
rose and left the shop. Hereat Hasan the Bassorite felt as
though his soul had departed his body and had gone with them; for
he could not lose sight of the boy during the twinkling of an
eye, albeit he knew not that Ajib was his son. So he locked up
his shop and hastened after them; and he walked so fast that he
came up with them before they had gone out of the western gate.
The Eunuch turned and asked him, "What ails the?"; and Badr al-
Din answered, "When ye went from me, meseemed my soul had gone
with you; and, as I had business without the city-gate, I
purposed to bear you company till my matter was ordered and so
return." The Eunuch was angered and said to Ajib, "This is just
what I feared! we ate that unlucky mouthful (which we are bound
to respect), and here is the fellow following us from place to
place; for the vulgar are ever the vulgar." Ajib, turning and
seeing the Cook just behind him, was wroth and his face reddened
with rage and he said to the servant; "Let him walk the highway
of the Moslems; but, when we turn off it to our tents, and find
that he still follows us, we will send him about his business
with a flea in his ear." Then he bowed his head and walked on,
the Eunuch walking behind him. But Hasan of Bassorah followed
them to the plain Al-Hasa; and, as they drew near to the tents,
they turned round and saw him close on their heels; so Ajib was
very angry, fearing that the Eunuch might tell his grandfather
what had happened. His indignation was the hotter for
apprehension lest any say that after he had entered a cook-shop
the cook had followed him. So he turned and looked at Hasan of
Bassorah and found his eyes fixed on his own, for the father had
become a body without a soul; and it seemed to Ajib that his eye
was a treacherous eye or that he was some lewd fellow. So his
rage redoubled and, stooping down, he took up a stone weighing
half a pound and threw it at his father. It struck him on the
forehead, cutting it open from eye-brow to eye-brow and causing
the blood to stream down: and Hasan fell to the ground in a swoon
whilst Ajib and the Eunuch made for the tents. When the father
came to himself he wiped away the blood and tore off a strip from
his turband and bound up his head, blaming himself the while, and
saying, "I wronged the lad by shutting up my shop and following,
so that he thought I was some evil-minded fellow." Then he
returned to his place where he busied himself with the sale of
his sweetmeats; and he yearned after his mother at Bassorah, and
wept over her and broke out repeating:--

"Unjust it were to bid the World [FN#460] be just * And blame
her not: She ne'er was made for justice:
Take what she gives thee, leave all grief aside, * For now to
fair and then to foul her lust is."

So Hasan of Bassorah set himself steadily to sell his sweetmeats;
but the Wazir, his uncle, halted in Damascus three days and then
marched upon Emesa, and passing through that town he made enquiry
there and at every place where he rested. Thence he fared on by
way of Hamah and Aleppo and thence to Diyar Bakr and Maridin and
Mosul, still enquiring, till he arrived at Bassorah-city. Here,
as soon as he had secured a lodging, he presented himself before
the Sultan, who entreated him with high honour and the respect
due to his rank, and asked the cause of his coming. The Wazir
acquainted him with his history and told him that the Minister
Nur al-Din was his brother; whereupon the Sultan exclaimed,
"Allah have mercy upon him!" and added, "My good Sahib!"
[FN#461]; he was my Wazir for fifteen years and I loved him
exceedingly. Then he died leaving a son who abode only a single
month after his father's death; since which time he has
disappeared and we could gain no tidings of him. But his mother,
who is the daughter of my former Minister, is still among us."
When the Wazir Shams al-Din heard that his nephew's mother was
alive and well, he rejoiced and said, "O King I much desire to
meet her." The King on the instant gave him leave to visit her;
so he betook himself to the mansion of his brother, Nur al-Din,
and cast sorrowful glances on all things in and around it and
kissed the threshold. Then he bethought him of his brother, Nur
al-Din Ali, and how he had died in a strange land far from kith
and kin and friends; and he wept and repeated these lines:--

"I wander 'mid these walls, my Layla's walls, * And kissing this
and other wall I roam:
'Tis not the walls or roof my heart so loves, * But those who in
this house had made their home."

Then he passed through the gate into a courtyard and found a
vaulted doorway builded of hardest syenite [FN#462] inlaid with
sundry kinds of multi-coloured marble. Into this he walked and
wandered about the house and, throwing many a glance around, saw
the name of his brother, Nur al-Din, written in gold wash upon
the walls. So he went up to the inscription and kissed it and
wept and thought of how he had been separated from his brother
and had now lost him for ever, and he recited these couplets:--

"I ask of you from every rising sun, * And eke I ask when
flasheth levenlight:
When I pass my nights in passion-pain, * Yet ne'er I 'plain me
of my painful plight;
My love! if longer last this parting throe * Little by little
shall it waste my sprite.
An thou wouldst bless these eyne with sight of thee * One day on
earth, I crave none other sight:
Think not another could possess my mind * Nor length nor breadth
for other love I find."

Then he walked on till he came to the apartment of his brother's
widow, the mother of Badr al-Din Hasan, the Egyptian. Now from
the time of her son's disappearance she had never ceased weeping
and wailing through the light hours and the dark; and, when the
years grew longsome with her, she built for him a tomb of marble
in the midst of the saloon and there used to weep for him day and
night, never sleeping save thereby. When the Wazir drew near her
apartment, he heard her voice and stood behind the door while she
addressed the sepulchre in verse and said:--

"Answer, by Allah! Sepulchre, are all his beauties gone? * Hath
change the power to blight his charms, that Beauty's
Thou art not earth, O Sepulchre! nor art thou sky to me; * How
comes it, then, in thee I see conjoint the branch and moon?"

While she was bemoaning herself after this fashion, behold, the
Wazir went in to her and saluted her and informed her that he was
her husband's brother; and, telling her all that had passed
between them, laid open before her the whole story, how her son
Badr al-Din Hasan had spent a whole night with his daughter full
ten years ago but had disappeared in the morning. And he ended
with saying, "My daughter conceived by thy son and bare a male
child who is now with me, and he is thy son and thy son's son by
my daughter." When she heard the tidings that her boy, Badr al-
Din, was still alive and saw her brother-in-law, she rose up to
him and threw herself at his feet and kissed them, reciting these

"Allah be good to him that gives glad tidings of thy steps; * In
very sooth for better news mine ears would never sue:
Were he content with worn-out robe, upon his back I'd throw * A
heart to pieces rent and torn when heard the word Adieu."

Then the Wazir sent for Ajib and his grandmother stood up and
fell on his neck and wept; but Shams al-Din said to her, "This is
no time for weeping; this is the time to get thee ready for
travelling with us to the land of Egypt; haply Allah will reunite
me and thee with thy son and my nephew." Replied she,
"Hearkening and obedience;" and, rising at once, collected her
baggage and treasures and her jewels, and equipped herself and
her slave-girls for the march, whilst the Wazir went to take his
leave of the Sultan of Bassorah, who sent by him presents and
rarities for the Soldan of Egypt. Then he set out at once upon
his homeward march and journeyed till he came to Damascus-city
where he alighted in the usual place and pitched tents, and said
to his suite, "We will halt a se'nnight here to buy presents and
rare things for the Soldan." Now Ajib bethought him of the past
so he said to the Eunuch, "O Laik, I want a little diversion;
come, let us go down to the great bazar of Damascus, [FN#463] and
see what hath become of the cook whose sweetmeats we ate and
whose head we broke, for indeed he was kind to us and we
entreated him scurvily." The Eunuch answered, "Hearing is
obeying!" So they went forth from the tents; and the tie of
blood drew Ajib towards his father, and forthwith they passed
through the gateway, Bab al-Faradis [FN#464] hight, and entered
the city and ceased not walking through the streets till they
reached the cookshop, where they found Hasan of Bassorah standing
at the door. It was near the time of mid-afternoon prayer
[FN#465] and it so fortuned that he had just dressed a confection
of pomegranate-grains. When the twain drew near to him and Ajib
saw him, his heart yearned towards him, and noticing the scar of
the blow, which time had darkened on his brow, he said to him,
"Peace be on thee, O man!" [FN#466] know that my heart is with
thee." But when Badr al-Din looked upon his son his vitals
yearned and his heart fluttered, and he hung his head earthwards
and sought to make his tongue give utterance to his words, but he
could not. Then he raised his head humbly and suppliant-wise
towards his boy and repeated these couplets:--

"I longed for my beloved but when I saw his face, * Abashed I
held my tongue and stood with downcast eye;
And hung my head in dread and would have hid my love, * But do
whatso I would hidden it would not lie;
Volumes of plaints I had prepared, reproach and blame, * But
when we met, no single word remembered I."

And then said he to them, "Heal my broken heart and eat of my
sweetmeats; for, by Allah, I cannot look at thee but my heart
flutters. Indeed I should not have followed thee the other day,
but that I was beside myself." "By Allah," answered Ajib, "thou
dost indeed love us! We ate in thy house a mouthful when we were
here before and thou madest us repent of it, for that thou
followedst us and wouldst have disgraced us; so now we will not
eat aught with thee save on condition that thou make oath not to
go out after us nor dog us. Otherwise we will not visit thee
again during our present stay; for we shall halt a week here,
whilst my grandfather buys certain presents for the King." Quoth
Hasan of Bassorah, "I promise you this." So Ajib and the Eunuch
entered the shop, and his father set before them a saucer-full of
conserve of pomegranate-grains. Said Ajib, "Sit thee down and
eat with us, so haply shall Allah dispel our sorrows." Hasan the
Bassorite was joyful and sat down and ate with them; but his eyes
kept gazing fixedly on Ajib's face, for his very heart and vitals
clove to him; and at last the boy said to him, "Did I not tell
thee thou art a most noyous dotard?; so do stint thy staring in
my face!" But when Hasan of Bassorah heard his son's words he
repeated these lines:--

"Thou hast some art the hearts of men to clip; * Close-veiled,
far-hidden mystery dark and deep:
O thou whose beauties sham the lustrous moon, * Wherewith the
saffron Morn fears rivalship!
Thy beauty is a shrine shall ne'er decay; * Whose signs shall
grow until they all outstrip; [FN#467]
Must I be thirst-burnt by that Eden-brow * And die of pine to
taste that Kausar-lip?" [FN#468]

Hasan kept putting morsels into Ajib's mouth at one time and at
another time did the same by the Eunuch and they ate till they
were satisfied and could no more. Then all rose up and the cook
poured water on their hands; [FN#469] and, loosing a silken
waist-shawl, dried them and sprinkled them with rose-water from a
casting-bottle he had by him. Then he went out and presently
returned with a gugglet of sherbet flavoured with rose-water,
scented with musk and cooled with snow; and he set this before
them saying, "Complete your kindness to me!" So Ajib took the
gugglet and drank and passed it to the Eunuch; and it went round
till their stomachs were full and they were surfeited with a meal
larger than their wont. Then they went away and made haste in
walking till they reached the tents, and Ajib went in to his
grandmother, who kissed him and, thinking of her son, Badr al-Din
Hasan, groaned aloud and wept and recited these lines:--

"I still had hoped to see thee and enjoy thy sight, * For in
thine absence life has lost its kindly light:
I swear my vitals wot none other love but thine * By Allah, who
can read the secrets of the sprite!"

Then she asked Ajib, "O my son! where hast thou been?"; and he
answered, "In Damascus-city;" Whereupon she rose and set before
him a bit of scone and a saucer of conserve of pomegranate-grains
(which was too little sweetened), and she said to the Eunuch,
"Sit down with thy master!" Said the servant to himself, "By
Allah, we have no mind to eat: I cannot bear the smell of bread;"
but he sat down and so did Ajib, though his stomach was full of
what he had eaten already and drunken. Nevertheless he took a
bit of the bread and dipped it in the pomegranate-conserve and
made shift to eat it, but he found it too little sweetened, for
he was cloyed and surfeited, so he said, "Faugh; what be this
wild-beast [FN#470] stuff?" "O my son," cried his grandmother,
"dost thou find fault with my cookery? I cooked this myself and
none can cook it as nicely as I can save thy father, Badr al-Din
Hasan." "By Allah, O my lady, Ajib answered, "this dish is nasty
stuff; for we saw but now in the city of Bassorah a cook who so
dresseth pomegranate-grains that the very smell openeth a way to
the heart and the taste would make a full man long to eat; and,
as for this mess compared with his, 'tis not worth either much or
little." When his grandmother heard his words she waxed wroth
with exceeding wrath and looked at the servant--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Twenty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ajib's
grandmother heard his words, she waxed wroth and looked at the
servant and said, "Woe to thee! dost thou spoil my son, [FN#471]
and dost take him into common cookshops?" The Eunuch was
frightened and denied, saying, "We did not go into the shop; we
only passed by it." "By Allah," cried Ajib, "but we did go in
and we ate till it came out of our nostrils, and the dish was
better than thy dish!" Then his grandmother rose and went and
told her brother-in-law, who was incensed against the Eunuch, and
sending for him asked him, "Why didst thou take my son into a
cookshop?"; and the Eunuch being frightened answered, "We did not
go in." But Ajib said, "We did go inside and ate conserve of
pomegranate-grains till we were full; and the cook gave us to
drink of iced and sugared sherbet." At this the Wazir's
indignation redoubled and he questioned the Castrato but, as he
still denied, the Wazir said to him, "If thou speak sooth, sit
down and eat before us." So he came forward and tried to eat,
but could not eat and threw away the mouthful crying "O my lord!
I am surfeited since yesterday." By this the Wazir was certified
that he had eaten at the cook's and bade the slaves throw him
[FN#472] which they did. Then they came down on him with a rib-
basting which burned him till he cried for mercy and help from
Allah, saying, "O my master, beat me no more and I will tell thee
the truth;" whereupon the Wazir stopped the bastinado and said,
"Now speak thou sooth." Quoth the Eunuch, "Know then that we did
enter the shop of a cook while he was dressing conserve of
pomegranate-grains and he set some of it before us: by Allah! I
never ate in my life its like, nor tasted aught nastier than this
stuff which is now before us."[FN#473] Badr al-Din Hasan's
mother was angry at this and said, "Needs thou must go back to
the cook and bring me a saucer of conserved pomegranate-grains
from that which is in his shop and show it to thy master, that he
may say which be the better and the nicer, mine or his." Said the
unsexed, "I will." So on the instant she gave him a saucer and a
half dinar and he returned to the shop and said to the cook, "O
Shaykh of all Cooks, [FN#474] we have laid a wager concerning thy
cookery in my lord's house, for they have conserve of
pomegranate-grains there also; so give me this half-dinar's worth
and look to it; for I have eaten a full meal of stick on account
of thy cookery, and so do not let me eat aught more thereof."
Hasan of Bassorah laughed and answered, "By Allah, none can dress
this dish as it should be dressed save myself and my mother, and
she at this time is in a far country." Then he ladled out a
saucer-full; and, finishing it off with musk and rose-water, put
it in a cloth which he sealed [FN#475] and gave it to the Eunuch,
who hastened back with it. No sooner had Badr al-Din Hasan's
mother tasted it and perceived its fine flavour and the
excellence of the cookery, than she knew who had dressed it, and
she screamed and fell down fainting. The Wazir, sorely started,
sprinkled rose-water upon her and after a time she recovered and
said, "If my son be yet of this world, none dressed this conserve
of pomegranate-grains but he; and this Cook is my very son Badr
al-Din Hasan; there is no doubt of it nor can there be any
mistake, for only I and he knew how to prepare it and I taught
him." When the Wazir heard her words he joyed with exceeding joy
and said, "O the longing of me for a sight of my brother's son!
I wonder if the days will ever unite us with him! Yet it is to
Almighty Allah alone that we look for bringing about this
meeting." Then he rose without stay or delay and, going to his
suite said to them, "Be off, some fifty of you with sticks and
staves to the Cook's shop and demolish it; then pinion his arms
behind him with his own turband, saying, 'It was thou madest that
foul mess of pomegranate-grains!' and drag him here perforce but
without doing him a harm." And they replied, "It is well." Then
the Wazir rode off without losing an instant to the Palace and,
foregathering with the Viceroy of Damascus, showed him the
Sultan's orders. After careful perusal he kissed the letter, and
placing it upon his head said to his visitor, "Who is this
offender of thine?" Quoth the Wazir, "A man who is a cook." So
the Viceroy at once sent his apparitors to the shop; which they
found demolished and everything in it broken to pieces; for
whilst the Wazir was riding to the palace his men had done his
bidding. Then they awaited his return from the audience, and
Hasan of Bassorah who was their prisoner kept saying, "I wonder
what they have found in the conserve of pomegranate-grains to
bring things to this pass!" [FN#476] When the Wazir returned to
them, after his visit to the Viceroy who had given him formal
permission to take up his debtor and depart with him, on entering
the tents he called for the Cook. They brought him forward
pinioned with his turband; and, when Badr al-Din Hasan saw his
uncle, he wept with excessive weeping and said, "O my lord, what
is my offence against thee?" "Art thou the man who dressed that
conserve of pomegranate-grains?"; asked the Wazir, and he
answered "Yes! didst thou find in it aught to call for the
cutting off of my head?" Quoth the Wazir, "That were the least
of thy deserts!" Quoth the cook, "O my lord, wilt thou not tell
me my crime and what aileth the conserve of pomegranate-grains?"
"Presently," replied the Wazir and called aloud to his men,
"Bring hither the camels." So they struck the tents and by the
Wazir's orders the servants took Badr al-Din Hasan, and set him
in a chest which they padlocked and put on a camel. Then they
departed and stinted not journeying till nightfall, when they
halted and ate some victual, and took Badr al-Din Hasan out of
his chest and gave him a meal and locked him up again. They set
out once more and travelled till they reached Kimrah, where they
took him out of the box and brought him before the Wazir who
asked him, "Art thou he who dressed that conserve of pomegranate-
grains?" He answered "Yes, O my lord!"; and the Wazir said
"Fetter him!" So they fettered him and returned him to the chest
and fared on again till they reached Cairo and lighted at the
quarter called Al-Raydaniyah.[FN#477] Then the Wazir gave order
to take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the chest and sent for a
carpenter and said to him, "Make me a cross of wood [FN#478] for
this fellow!" Cried Badr al-Din Hasan "And what wilt thou do with
it?"; and the Wazir replied, "I mean to crucify thee thereon, and
nail thee thereto and parade thee all about the city." "And why
wilt thou use me after this fashion?" "Because of thy villanous
cookery of conserved pomegranate-grains; how durst thou dress it
and sell it lacking pepper?" "And for that it lacked pepper wilt
thou do all this to me? Is it not enough that thou hast broken
my shop and smashed my gear and boxed me up in a chest and fed me
only once a day?" "Too little pepper! too little pepper! this is
a crime which can be expiated only upon the cross!" Then Badr
al-Din Hasan marvelled and fell a-mourning for his life;
whereupon the Wazir asked him, "Of what thinkest thou?"; and he
answered him, "Of maggoty heads like thine; [FN#479] for an thou
had one ounce of sense thou hadst not treated me thus." Quoth
the Wazir, "It is our duty to punish thee lest thou do the like
again." Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, "Of a truth my offense were
over-punished by the least of what thou hast already done to me;
and Allah damn all conserve of pomegranate-grains and curse the
hour when I cooked it and would I had died ere this!" But the
Wazir rejoined, "There is no help for it; I must crucify a man
who sells conserve of pomegranate-grains lacking pepper." All
this time the carpenter was shaping the wood and Badr al-Din
looked on; and thus they did till night, when his uncle took him
and clapped him into the chest, saying, "The thing shall be done
to-morrow!" Then he waited until he knew Badr al-Din "Hasan to
be asleep, when he mounted; and taking the chest up before him,
entered the city and rode on to his own house, where he alighted
and said to his daughter, Sitt al-Husn, "Praised be Allah who
hath reunited thee with thy husband, the son of thine uncle! Up
now, and order the house as it was on thy bridal night." So the
servants arose and lit the candles; and the Wazir took out his
plan of the nuptial chamber, and directed them what to do till
they had set everything in its stead, so that whoever saw it
would have no doubt but it was the very night of the marriage.
Then he bade them put down Badr al-Din Hasan's turband on the
settle, as he had deposited it with his own hand, and in like
manner his bag-trousers and the purse which were under the
mattress: and told daughter to undress herself and go to bed in
the private chamber as on her wedding-night, adding, "When the
son of thine uncle comes in to thee, say to him:--Thou hast
loitered while going to the privy; and call him to lie by thy
side and keep him in converse till daybreak, when we will explain
the whole matter to him." Then he bade take Badr al-Din Hasan
out of the chest, after loosing the fetters from his feet and
stripping off all that was on him save the fine shirt of blue
silk in which he had slept on his wedding-night; so that he was
well-nigh naked and trouserless. All this was done whilst he was
sleeping on utterly unconscious. Then, by doom of Destiny, Badr
al-Din Hasan turned over and awoke; and, finding himself in a
lighted vestibule, said to himself, "Surely I am in the mazes of
some dream." So he rose and went on to a little to an inner door
and looked in and lo! he was in the very chamber wherein the
bride had been displayed to him; and there he saw the bridal
alcove and the settle and his turband and all his clothes. When
he saw this he as confounded and kept advancing with one foot,
and retiring with the other, saying, "Am I sleeping or waking?"
And he began rubbing his forehead and saying (for indeed he was
thoroughly astounded), "By Allah, verily this is the chamber of
the bride who was displayed before me! Where am I then? I was
surely but now in a box!" Whilst he was talking with himself,
Sitt al-Husn suddenly lifted the corner of the chamber-curtain
and said, "O my lord, wilt thou not come in? Indeed thou hast
loitered long in the water-closet." When he heard her words and
saw her face he burst out laughing and said, "Of a truth this is
a very nightmare among dreams!" Then he went in sighing, and
pondered what had come to pass with him and was perplexed about
his case, and his affair became yet more obscure to him when he
saw his turband and bag-trousers and when, feeling the pocket, he
found the purse containing the thousand gold pieces. So he stood
still and muttered, "Allah is all knowing! Assuredly I am
dreaming a wild waking dream!" Then said the Lady of Beauty to
him, "What ails thee to look puzzled and perplexed?"; adding,
"Thou wast a very different man during the first of the night!"
He laughed and asked her, "How long have I been away from thee?";
and she answered him, "Allah preserve thee and His Holy Name be
about thee! Thou didst but go out an hour ago for an occasion
and return. Are thy wits clean gone?" When Badr al-Din Hasan
heard this, he laughed, [FN#480] and said, "Thou hast spoken
truth; but, when I went out from thee, I forgot myself awhile in
the draught-house and dreamed that I was a cook at Damascus and
abode there ten years; and there came to me a boy who was of the
sons of the great, and with him an Eunuch." Here he passed his
hand over his forehead and, feeling the scar, cried, "By Allah, O
my lady, it must have been true, for he struck my forehead with a
stone and cut it open from eye-brow to eye-brow; and here is the
mark: so it must have been on wake." Then he added, "But perhaps
I dreamt it when we fell asleep, I and thou, in each other's
arms, for meseems it was as though I travelled to Damascus
without tarbush and trousers and set up as a cook there." Then
he was perplexed and considered for awhile, and said, "By Allah,
I also fancied that I dressed a conserve of pomegranate-grains
and put too little pepper in it. By Allah, I must have slept in
the numerocent and have seen the whole thing in a dream; but how
long was that dream!" "Allah upon thee," said Sitt al-Husn, "and
what more sawest thou?" So he related all to her; and presently
said, "By Allah had I not woke up they would have nailed me to a
cross of wood!" "Wherefore?" asked she; and he answered, "For
putting too little pepper in the conserve of pomegranate-grains,
and meseemed they demolished my shop and dashed to pieces my pots
and pans, destroyed all my stuff and put me in a box; they then
sent for the carpenter to fashion a cross for me and would have
crucified me thereon. Now Alhamdolillah! thanks be to Allah, for
that all this happened to me in sleep, and not on wake." Sitt
al-Husn laughed and clasped him to her bosom and he her to his:
then he thought again and said, "By Allah, it could not be save
while I was awake: truly I know not what to think of it." Then
he lay him down and all the night he was bewildered about his
case, now saying, "I was dreaming!" and then saying, "I was
awake!", till morning, when his uncle Shams al-Din, the Wazir,
came to him and saluted him. When Badr al-Din Hasan saw him he
said, "By Allah, art thou not he who bade bind my hands behind me
and smash my shop and nail me to a cross on a matter of conserved
pomegranate-grains because the dish lacked a sufficiency of
pepper?" Whereupon the Wazir said to him, "Know, O my son, that
truth hath shown it soothfast and the concealed hath been
revealed! [FN#481] Thou art the son of my brother, and I did all
this with thee to certify myself that thou wast indeed he who
went in unto my daughter that night. I could not be sure of
this, till I saw that thou knewest the chamber and thy turband
and thy trousers and thy gold and the papers in thy writing and
in that of thy father, my brother; for I had never seen thee
afore that and knew thee not; and as to thy mother I have
prevailed upon her to come with me from Bassorah." So saying, he
threw himself on his nephew's breast and wept for joy; and Badr
al-Din Hasan, hearing these words from his uncle, marvelled with
exceeding marvel and fell on his neck and also shed tears for
excess of delight. Then said the Wazir to him, "O my son, the
sole cause of all this is what passed between me and thy sire;"
and all that had occurred to part them. Lastly the Wazir sent
for Ajib; and when his father saw him he cried, "And this is he
who struck me with the stone!" Quoth the Wazir, "This is thy
son!" And Badr al-Din Hasan threw himself upon his boy and began

"Long have I wept o'er severance ban and bane, * Long from mine
eyelids tear-rills rail and rain:
And vowed I if Time re-union bring * My tongue from name of
"Severance" I'll restrain:
Joy hath o'ercome me to this stress that I * From joy's revulsion
to shed tears am fain:
Ye are so trained to tears, O eyne of me! * You weep with
pleasure as you weep with pain." [FN#482]

When he had ended his verse his mother came in and threw herself
upon him and began reciting:--

"When we met we complained, * Our hearts were sore wrung:
But plaint is not pleasant * Fro' messenger's tongue."

Then she wept and related to him what had befallen her since his
departure, and he told her what he had suffered, and they thanked
Allah Almighty for their reunion. Two days after his arrival the
Wazir Shams al-din went in to the Sultan and, kissing the ground
between his hands, greeted him with the greeting due to Kings.
The Sultan rejoiced at his return and his face brightened and,
placing him hard by his side, [FN#483] asked him to relate all he
had seen in his wayfaring and whatso had betided him in his going
and coming. So the Wazir told him all that had passed from first
to last and the Sultan said, "Thanks be to Allah for thy victory
[FN#484] and the winning of thy wish and thy safe return to thy
children and thy people! And now I needs must see the son of thy
brother, Hasan of Bassorah, so bring him to the audience-hall to-
morrow." Shams al-Din replied, "Thy slave shall stand in thy
presence to-morrow, Inshallah, if it be God's will." Then he
saluted him and, returning to his own house, informed his nephew
of the Sultan's desire to see him, whereto replied Hasan, whilome
the Bassorite, "The slave is obedient to the orders of his lord."
And the result was that next day he accompanied his uncle, Shams
al-Din, to the Divan; and, after saluting the Sultan and doing
him reverence in most ceremonious obeisance and with most courtly
obsequiousness, he began improvising these verses:--

"The first in rank to kiss the ground shall deign * Before you,
and all ends and aims attain:
You are Honour's fount; and all that hope of you, * Shall gain
more honour than Hope hoped to gain."

The Sultan smiled and signed to him to sit down. So he took a
seat close to his uncle, Shams al-Din, and the King asked him his
name. Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, "The meanest of thy slaves is
known as Hasan the Bassorite, who is instant in prayer for thee
day and night." The Sultan was pleased at his words and, being
minded to test his learning and prove his good breeding, asked
him, "Dost thou remember any verses in praise of the mole on the
cheek?" He answered, "I do," and began reciting:--

"When I think of my love and our parting-smart, * My groans go
forth and my tears upstart:
He's a mole that reminds me in colour and charms * O' the black
o' the eye and the grain [FN#485] of the heart."

The King admired and praised the two couplets and said to him,
"Quote something else; Allah bless thy sire and may thy tongue
never tire!" So he began:--

"That cheek-mole's spot they evened with a grain * Of musk, nor
did they here the simile strain:
Nay, marvel at the face comprising all * Beauty, nor falling
short by single grain."

The King shook with pleasure [FN#486] and said to him, "Say more:
Allah bless thy days!" So he began:--

"O you whose mole on cheek enthroned recalls * A dot of musk
upon a stone of ruby,
Grant me your favours! Be not stone at heart! * Core of my heart
whose only sustenance you be!"

Quoth the King, "Fair comparison, O Hasan! [FN#487] thou hast
spoken excellently well and hast proved thyself accomplished in
every accomplishment! Now explain to me how many meanings be
there in the Arabic language [FN#488] for the word Khal or mole."
He replied, "Allah keep the King! Seven and fifty and some by
tradition say fifty." Said the Sultan, "Thou sayest sooth,"
presently adding, "Hast thou knowledge as to the points of
excellence in beauty?" "Yes," answered Badr al-Din Hasan,
"Beauty consisteth in brightness of face, clearness of
complexion, shapeliness of nose, gentleness of eyes, sweetness of
mouth, cleverness of speech, slenderness of shape and seemliness
of all attributes. But the acme of beauty is in the hair and,
indeed, al-Shihab the Hijazi hath brought together all these
items in his doggrel verse of the metre Rajaz, [FN#489] and it is

Say thou to skin "Be soft," to face "Be fair," * And gaze, nor
shall they blame howso thou stare:
Fine nose in Beauty's list is high esteemed; * Nor less an eye
full, bright and debonnair:
Eke did they well to laud the lovely lips * (Which e'en the sleep
of me will never spare);
A winning tongue, a stature tall and straight; [FN#490] * A
seemly union of gifts rarest rare:
But Beauty's acme in the hair one views it; * So hear my strain
and with some few excuse it!"

The Sultan was captivated by his converse and, regarding him as a
friend, asked, "What meaning is there in the saw 'Shurayh is
foxier than the fox'?" And he answered, "Know, O King (whom
Almighty Allah keep!) that the legist Shurayh [FN#491] was wont,
during the days of the plague, to make a visitation to Al-Najaf;
and, whenever he stood up to pray, there came a fox which would
plant himself facing him and which, by mimicking his movements,
distracted him from his devotions. Now when this became longsome
to him, one day he doffed his shirt and set it upon a cane and
shook out the sleeves; then placing his turband on the top and
girding its middle with a shawl, he stuck it up in the place
where he used to pray. Presently up trotted the fox according to
his custom and stood over against the figure, whereupon Shurayh
came behind him, and took him. Hence the sayer saith, 'Shurayh
foxier than the fox.'" When the Sultan heard Badr al-Din Hasan's
explanation he said to his uncle, Shams al-Din, "Truly this the
son of thy brother is perfect in courtly breeding and I do not
think that his like can be found in Cairo." At this Hasan arose
and kissed the ground before him and sat down again as a Mameluke
should sit before his master. When the Sultan had thus assured
himself of his courtly breeding and bearing and his knowledge of
the liberal arts and belles-lettres, he joyed with exceeding joy
and invested him with a splendid robe of honour and promoted him
to an office whereby he might better his condition. [FN#492]
Then Badr al-Din Hasan arose and, kissing the ground before the
King, wished him continuance of glory and asked leave to retire
with his uncle, the Wazir Shams al-Din. The Sultan gave him
leave and he issued forth and the two returned home, where food
was set before them and they ate what Allah had given them.
After finishing his meal Hasan repaired to the sitting-chamber of
his wife, the Lady of Beauty, and told her what had past between
him and the Sultan; whereupon quoth she, "He cannot fail to make
thee a cup-companion and give thee largess in excess and load
thee with favours and bounties; so shalt thou, by Allah's
blessing, dispread, like the greater light, the rays of thy
perfection wherever thou be, on shore or on sea." Said he to
her, "I purpose to recite a Kasidah, an ode, in his praise, that
he may redouble in affection for me." "Thou art right in thine
intent," she answered, "so gather thy wits together and weigh thy
words, and I shall surely see my husband favoured with his
highest favour." Thereupon Hasan shut himself up and composed
these couplets on a solid base and abounding in inner grace and
copies them out in a hand-writing of the nicest taste. They are
as follows:--

Mine is a Chief who reached most haught estate, * Treading the
pathways of the good and great:
His justice makes all regions safe and sure, * And against
froward foes bars every gate:
Bold lion, hero, saint, e'en if you call * Seraph or Sovran
[FN#493] he with all may rate!
The poorest supplicant rich from him returns, * All words to
praise him were inadequate.
He to the day of peace is saffron Morn, * And murky Night in
furious warfare's bate.
Bow 'neath his gifts our necks, and by his deeds * As King of
freeborn [FN#494] souls he 'joys his state:
Allah increase for us his term of years, * And from his lot avert
all risks and fears!

When he had finished transcribing the lines, he despatched them,
in charge of one of his uncle's slaves, to the Sultan, who
perused them and his fancy was pleased; so he read them to those
present and all praised them with the highest praise. Thereupon
he sent for the writer to his sitting-chamber and said to him,
"Thou art from this day forth my boon-companion and I appoint to
thee a monthly solde of a thousand dirhams, over and above that I
bestowed on thee aforetime." So Hasan rose and, kissing the
ground before the King several times, prayed for the continuance
of his greatness and glory and length of life and strength. Thus
Badr al-Din Hasan the Bassorite waxed high in honour and his fame
flew forth to many regions and he abode in all comfort and solace
and delight of life with his uncle and his own folk till Death
overtook him. When the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard this story
from the mouth of his Wazir, Ja'afar the Barmecide, he marvelled
much and said, "It behoves that these stories be written in
letters of liquid gold." Then he set the slave at liberty and
assigned to the youth who had slain his wife such a monthly
stipend as sufficed to make his life easy; he also gave him a
concubine from amongst his own slave-girls and the young man
became one of his cup-companions. "Yet this story," (continued
Shahrazad) "is in no wise stranger than the tale of the Tailor
and the Hunchback and the Jew and the Reeve and the Nazarene, and
what betided them." Quoth the King, "And what may that be?" So
Shahrazad began, in these words,[FN#495]


It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there dwelt during
times of yore, and years and ages long gone before, in a certain
city of China,[FN#496] a Tailor who was an open handed man that
loved pleasuring and merry making; and who was wont, he and his
wife, to solace themselves from time to time with public
diversions and amusements. One day they went out with the first
of the light and were returning in the evening when they fell in
with a Hunchback, whose semblance would draw a laugh from care
and dispel the horrors of despair. So they went up to enjoy
looking at him and invited him to go home with them and converse
and carouse with them that night. He consented and accompanied
them afoot to their home; whereupon the Tailor fared forth to the
bazaar (night having just set in) and bought a fried fish and
bread and lemons and dry sweetmeats for dessert; and set the
victuals before the Hunchback and they ate. Presently the
Tailor's wife took a great fid of fish and gave it in a gobbet to
the Gobbo, stopping his mouth with her hand and saying, "By
Allah, thou must down with it at a single gulp; and I will not
give thee time to chew it." So he bolted it; but therein was a
stiff bone which stuck in his gullet and, his hour being come, he
died.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Twenty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Tailor's wife gave the Hunchback that mouthful of fish which
ended his term of days he died on the instant. Seeing this the
Tailor cried aloud, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah! Alas, that this poor wretch should have died in so
foolish fashion at our hands!" and the woman rejoined, "Why this
idle talk? Hast thou not heard his saying who said:--

Why then waste I my time in grief, until I * find no friend to
bear my weight of woe
How sleep upon a fire that flames unquenched? * Upon the flames
to rest were hard enow!"

Asked her husband, "And what shall I do with him?"; and she
answered, "Rise and take him in thine arms and spread a silken
kerchief over him; then I will fare forth, with thee following me
this very night and if thou meet any one say, 'This is my son,
and his mother and I are carrying him to the doctor that he may
look at him.'" So he rose and taking the Hunchback in his arms
bore him along the streets, preceded by his wife who kept crying,
"O my son, Allah keep thee! what part paineth thee and where hath
this small-pox[FN#497] attacked thee?" So all who saw them said
"'Tis a child sick of small-pox." [FN#498] They went along asking
for the physician's house till folk directed them to that of a
leach which was a Jew. They knocked at the door, and there came
down to them a black slave girl who opened and, seeing a man
bearing a babe, and a woman with him, said to them, "What is the
matter?" "We have a little one with us," answered the Tailor's
wife, "and we wish to show him to the physician: so take this
quarter dinar and give it to thy master and let him come down and
see my son who is sore sick." The girl went up to tell her
master, whereupon the Tailor's wife walked into the vestibule and
said to her husband, "Leave the Hunchback here and let us fly for
our lives." So the Tailor carried the dead man to the top of the
stairs and propped him upright against the wall and ran away, he
and his wife. Meanwhile the girl went in to the Jew and said to
him, "At the door are a man and a woman with a sick child and
they have given me a quarter dinar for thee, that thou mayest go
down and look at the little one and prescribe for it." As soon as
the Jew saw the quarter dinar he rejoiced and rose quickly in his
greed of gain and went forth hurriedly in the dark; but hardly
had he made a step when he stumbled on the corpse and threw it
over, when it rolled to the bottom of the staircase. So he cried
out to the girl to hurry up with the light, and she brought it,
whereupon he went down and examining the Hunchback found that he
was stone dead. So he cried out, "O for Esdras![FN#499] O for
Moses! O for Aaron! O for Joshua, son of Nun! O the Ten
Commandments! I have stumbled against the sick one and he hath
fallen downstairs and he is dead! How shall I get this man I have
killed out of my house? O by the hoofs of the ass of Esdras!"
Then he took up the body and, carrying it into the house, told
his wife what had happened and she said to him, "Why dost thou
sit still? If thou keep him here till day break we shall both
lose our lives. Let us two carry him to the terrace roof and
throw him over into the house of our neighbour, the Moslem, for
if he abide there a night the dogs will come down on him from the
adjoining terraces and eat him up." Now his neighbour was a
Reeve, the controller of the Sultan's kitchen, and was wont to
bring back great store of oil and fat and broken meats; but the
cats and rats used to eat it, or, if the dogs scented a fat
sheep's tail they would come down from the nearest roofs and tear
at it; and on this wise the beasts had already damaged much of
what he brought home. So the Jew and his wife carried the
Hunchback up to the roof; and, letting him down by his hands and
feet through the wind-shaft[FN#500] into the Reeve's house,
propped him up against the wall and went their ways. Hardly had
they done this when the Reeve, who had been passing an evening
with his friends hearing a recitation of the Koran, came home and
opened the door and, going up with a lighted candle, found a son
of Adam standing in the corner under the ventilator. When he saw
this, he said, "Wah! by Allah, very good forsooth! He who robbeth
my stuff is none other than a man." Then he turned to the
Hunchback and said, "So 'tis thou that stealest the meat and the
fat! I thought it was the cats and dogs, and I kill the dogs and
cats of the quarter and sin against them by killing them. And all
the while 'tis thou comest down from the house terrace through
the wind shaft. But I will avenge myself upon thee with my own
hand!" So he snatched up a heavy hammer and set upon him and
smote him full on the breast and he fell down. Then he examined
him and, finding that he was dead, cried out in horror, thinking
that he had killed him, and said, "There is no Majesty and there
is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" And he
feared for his life, and added "Allah curse the oil and the meat
and the grease and the sheep's tails to boot! How hath fate given
this man his quietus at my hand!" Then he looked at the body and
seeing it was that of a Gobbo, said, "Was it not enough for thee
to be a hunchback,[FN#501] but thou must likewise be a thief and
prig flesh and fat! O thou Veiler,[FN#502] deign to veil me with
Thy curtain of concealment!" So he took him up on his shoulders
and, going forth with him from his house about the latter end of
the night, carried him to the nearest end of the bazaar, where he
set him up on his feet against the wall of a shop at the head of
a dark lane, and left him and went away. After a while up came a
Nazarene,[FN#503] the Sultan's broker who, much bemused with
liquor, was purposing for the Hammam bath as his drunkenness
whispered in his ear, "Verily the call to matins[FN#504] is
nigh." He came plodding along and staggering about till he drew
near the Hunchback and squatted down to make water[FN#505] over
against him; when he happened to glance around and saw a man
standing against the wall. Now some person had snatched off the
Christian's turband[FN#506] in the first of the night; so when he
saw the Hunchback hard by he fancied that he also meant to steal
his headdress. Thereupon he clenched his fist and struck him on
the neck, felling him to the ground, and called aloud to the
watchman of the bazaar, and came down on the body in his drunken
fury and kept on belabouring and throttling the corpse. Presently
the Charley came up and, finding a Nazarene kneeling on a Moslem
and frapping him, asked, "What harm hath this one done?"; and the
Broker answered, "The fellow meant to snatch off my turband."
"Get up from him," quoth the watch man. So he arose and the
Charley went up to the Hunchback and finding him dead, exclaimed,
"By Allah, good indeed! A Christian killing a Mahometan!" Then he
seized the Broker and, tying his hands behind his back, carried
him to the Governor's house,[FN#507] and all the while the
Nazarene kept saying to himself, "O Messiah! O Virgin! how came I
to kill this fellow? And in what a hurry he must have been to
depart this life when he died of a single blow!" Presently, as
his drunkenness fled, came dolour in its stead. So the Broker and
the body were kept in the Governor's place till morning morrowed,
when the Wali came out and gave order to hang the supposed
murderer and commanded the executioner[FN#508] make proclamation
of the sentence. Forthwith they set up a gallows under which they
made the Nazarene stand and the torch bearer, who was hangman,
threw the rope round his neck and passed one end through the
pulley, and was about to hoist him up[FN#509] when lo! the Reeve,
who was passing by, saw the Broker about to be hanged; and,
making his way through the people, cried out to the executioner,
"Hold! Hold! I am he who killed the Hunchback!" Asked the
Governor, "What made thee kill him?"; and he answered, "I went
home last night and there found this man who had come down the
ventilator to steal my property; so I smote him with a hammer on
the breast and he died forthright. Then I took him up and carried
him to the bazaar and set him up against the wall in such a place
near such a lane;" adding, "Is it not enough for me to have
killed a Moslem without also killing a Christian? So hang none
other but me." When the Governor heard these words he released
the Broker and said to the torch bearer, "Hang up this man on his
own confession." So he loosed the cord from the Nazarene's neck
and threw it round that of the Reeve and, making him stand under
the gallows tree, was about to string him up when behold, the
Jewish physician pushed through the people and shouted to the
executioner, "Hold! Hold! It was I and none else killed the
Hunchback! Last night I was sitting at home when a man and a
woman knocked at the door carrying this Gobbo who was sick, and
gave my handmaid a quarter dinar, bidding her hand me the fee and
tell me to come down and see him. Whilst she was gone the man and
the woman brought him into the house and, setting him on the
stairs, went away; and presently I came down and not seeing him,
for I was in the dark, stumbled over him and he fell to the foot
of the staircase and died on the moment. Then we took him up, I
and my wife, and carried him on to the top terrace; and, the
house of this Reeve being next door to mine, we let the body down
through the ventilator. When he came home and found the Hunchback
in his house, he fancied he was a thief and struck him with a
hammer, so that he fell to the ground, and our neighbour made
certain that he had slain him. Now is it not enough for me to
have killed one Moslem unwittingly, without burdening myself with
taking the life of another Moslem wittingly?" When the Governor
heard this he said to the hangman, "Set free the Reeve and hang
the Jew." Thereupon the torch bearer took him and slung the cord
round his neck when behold, the Tailor pushed through the people,
and shouted to the executioner, "Hold! Hold! It was I and none
else killed the Hunchback; and this was the fashion thereof. I
had been out a pleasuring yesterday and, coming back to supper,
fell in with this Gobbo, who was drunk and drumming away and
singing lustily to his tambourine. So I accosted him and carried
him to my house and bought a fish, and we sat down to eat.


Back to Full Books