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Burton: The Story of the Chief of Police of Cairo

[Go back to Al-Malik Al-Nasir and the Three Chiefs of Police]

"There were in this city two men of good repute fit to bear witness in matters of murder and wounds; but they were both secretly addicted to intrigues with low women and to wine- bibbing and to dissolute doings, nor could I succeed (do what I would) in bringing them to book, and I began to despair of success. So I charged the taverners and confectioners and fruiterers and candle-chandlers and the keepers of brothels and bawdy houses to acquaint me of these two good men whenever they should anywhere be engaged in drinking or other debauchery, or together or apart; and ordered that, if they both or if either of them bought at their shops aught for the purpose of wassail and carousel, the vendors should not conceal-it from me. And they replied, 'We hear and obey.' Presently it chanced that one night, a man came to me and said, 'O my master, know that the two just men, the two witnesses, are in such a street in such a house, engaged in abominable wickedness.' So I disguised myself, I and my body-servant, and ceased not trudging till I came to the house and knocked at the door, whereupon a slave-girl came out and opened to me, saying, 'Who art thou?' I entered without answering her and saw the two legal-witnesses and the house-master sitting, and lewd women by their side and before them great plenty of wine. When they saw me, they rose to receive me, and made much of me, seating me in the place of honour and saying to me, 'Welcome for an illustrious guest and well come for a pleasant cup- companion!' And on this wise they met me without showing a sign of alarm or trouble. Presently, the master of the house arose from amongst us and went out and returned after a while with three hundred dinars, when the men said to me, without the least fear, 'Know, O our lord the Wali, it is in thy power to do even more than disgrace and punish us; but this will bring thee in return nothing but weariness: so we reck thou wouldest do better to take this much money and protect us; for Almighty Allah is named the Protector and loveth those of His servants who protect their Moslem neighbours; and thou shalt have thy reward in this world and due recompense in the world to come.' So I said to myself, 'I will take the money and protect them this once, but, if ever again I have them in my power, I will take my wreak of them;' for, you see, the money had tempted me. Thereupon I took it and went away thinking that no one would know it; but, next day, on a sudden one of the Kazi's messengers came to me and said to me, 'O Wali, be good enough to answer the summons of the Kazi who wanteth thee.' So I arose and accompanied him, knowing not the meaning of all this; and when I came into the judge's presence, I saw the two witnesses and the master of the house, who had given me the money, sitting by his side. Thereupon this man rose and sued me for three hundred dinars, nor was it in my power to deny the debt; for he produced a written obligation and his two companions, the legal witnesses, testified against me that I owed the amount. Their evidence satisfied the Kazi and he ordered me to pay the sum, nor did I leave the Court till they had of me the three hundred gold pieces. So I went away, in the utmost wrath and shame, vowing mischief and vengeance against them and repenting that I had not punished them. Such, then is the most remarkable event which befel me during my term of office." Thereupon rose the Chief of the Bulak Police and said, "As for me, O our lord the Sultan, the most marvellous thing that happened to me, since I became Wali, was as follows:" and he began...

[Go to Story of the Chief of the Bulak 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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