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Burton: Story of the Chief of the Bulak Police

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"I was once in debt to the full amount of three hundred thousand gold pieces; and, being distressed thereby, I sold all that was behind me and what was before me and all I hent in hand, but I could collect no more than an hundred thousand dinars"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wali of Bulak continued: "So I sold all that was behind and before me, but could collect no more than an hundred thousand dinars and remained in great perplexity. Now one night, as I sat at home in this state, behold, there came a knocking; so I said to one of my servants, 'See who is at the door.' He went out and returned, wan of face, changed in countenance and with his side-muscles a- quivering; so I asked him, 'What aileth thee?'; and he answered, 'There is a man at the door; he is half naked, clad in skins, with sword in hand and knife in girdle, and with him are a company of the same fashion and he asketh for thee.' So I took my sword and going out to see who these were, behold, I found them as the boy had reported and said to them, 'What is your business?' They replied, 'Of a truth we be thieves and have done fine work this night; so we appointed the swag to thy use, that thou mayst pay therewith the debts which sadden thee and deliver thee from thy distress.' Quoth I, 'Where is the plunder?'; and they brought me a great chest, full of vessels of gold and silver; which when I saw, I rejoiced and said to myself, 'Herewith I will settle all claims upon me and there will remain as much again.' So I took the money and going inside said in my mind, 'It were ignoble to let them fare away empty-handed.' Whereupon I brought out the hundred thousand dinars I had by me and gave it to them, thanking them for their kindness; and they pouched the monies and went their way, under cover of the night so that none might know of them. But when morning dawned I examined the contents of the chest, and found them copper and tin washed with gold worth five hundred dirhams at the most; and this was grievous to me, for I had lost what monies I had and trouble was added to my trouble. Such, then, is the most remarkable event which befel me during my term of office." Then rose the Chief of the Police of Old Cairo and said, "O our lord the Sultan, the most marvellous thing that happened to me, since I became Wali, was on this wise;" and he began...

[Go to The Story of the Chief of the Old Cairo Police]


Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.


1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM


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