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There lived in the time of Harun al-Rashid a man named Ahmad al-Danaf and another Hasan Shuman hight, the twain past-masters in fraud and feints, who had done rare things in their day; wherefore the Caliph invested them with caftans of honour and made them Captains of the Watch for Baghdad (Ahmad of the right hand and Hasan of the left hand); and appointed to each of them a stipend of a thousand dinars a month and forty stalwart men to be at their bidding. Moreover to Calamity Ahmad was committed the watch of the district outside the walls. So Ahmad and Hasan went forth in company of the Emir Khalid, the Wali or Chief of Police, attended each by his forty followers on horse-back, and preceded by the Crier, crying aloud and saying, "By command of the Caliph! None is captain of the watch of the right hand but Ahmad al- Danaf and none is captain of the watch of the left hand but Hasan Shuman, and both are to be obeyed when they bid and are to be held in all honour and worship." Now there was in the city an old woman called Dalilah the Wily, who had a daughter by name Zaynab the Coney-catcher. They heard the proclamation made and Zaynab said to Dalilah, "See, O my mother, this fellow, Ahmad al-Danaf! He came hither from Cairo, a fugitive, and played the double-dealer in Baghdad, till he got into the Caliph's company and is now become captain of the right hand, whilst that mangy chap Hasan Shuman is captain of the left hand, and each hath a table spread morning and evening and a monthly wage of a thousand dinars; whereas we abide unemployed and neglected in this house, without estate and without honour, and have none to ask of us." Now Dalilah's husband had been town-captain of Baghdad with a monthly wage of one thousand dinars; but he died leaving two daughters, one married and with a son by name Ahmad al- Lakit or Ahmad the Abortion; and the other called Zaynab, a spinster. And this Dalilah was a past mistress in all manner of craft and trickery and double dealing; she could wile the very dragon out of his den and Iblis himself might have learnt deceit of her. Her father had also been governor of the carrier-pigeons to the Caliph with a solde of one thousand dinars a month. He used to rear the birds to carry letters and messages, wherefore in time of need each was dearer to the Caliph than one of his own sons. So Zaynab said to her mother, "Up and play off some feint and fraud that may haply make us notorious"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Six Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zaynab thus addressed her dam, "Up and play off some feint and fraud which may haply make us notorious in Baghdad, so perchance we shall win our father's stipend for ourselves." Replied the old trot, "As thy head liveth, O my daughter, I will play off higher-class rogueries in Baghdad than ever played Calamity Ahmad or Hasan the Pestilent." So saying, she rose and threw over her face the Lisam-veil and donned clothes such as the poorer Sufis wear, petticoat-trousers falling over her heels, and a gown of white wool with a broad girdle. She also took a pitcher and filled it with water to the neck; after which she set three dinars in the mouth and stopped it up with a plug of palm-fibre. Then she threw round her shoulder, baldrick-wise, a rosary as big as a load of firewood, and taking in her hand a flag, made of parti-coloured rags, red and yellow and green, went out, crying, "Allah! Allah!" with tongue celebrating the praises of the Lord, whilst her heart galloped in the Devil's race- course, seeking how she might play some sharping trick upon town. She walked from street to street, till she came to an alley swept and watered and marble-paved, where she saw a vaulted gateway, with a threshold of alabaster, and a Moorish porter standing at the door, which was of sandalwood plated with brass and furnished with a ring of silver for knocker. Now this house belonged to the Chief of the Caliph's Serjeant-ushers, a man of great wealth in fields, houses and allowances, called the Emir Hasan Sharr al-Tarik, or Evil of the Way, and therefor called because his blow forewent his word. He was married to a fair damsel, Khatun hight, whom he loved and who had made him swear, on the night of his going in unto her, that he would take none other to wife over her nor lie abroad for a single night. And so things went on till one day, he went to the Divan and saw that each Emir had with him a son or two. Then he entered the Hammam-bath and looking at his face in the mirror, noted that the white hairs in his beard overlay its black, and he said in himself, "Will not He who took thy sire bless thee with a son?" So he went in to his wife, in angry mood, and she said to him, "Good evening to thee"; but he replied, "Get thee out of my sight: from the day I saw thee I have seen naught of good." "How so?" quoth she. Quoth he, "On the night of my going in unto thee, thou madest me swear to take no other wife over thee, and this very day I have seen each Emir with a son and some with two. So I minded me of death; and also that to me hath been vouchsafed neither son nor daughter and that whoso leaveth no male hath no memory. This, then, is the reason of my anger, for thou art barren; and knowing thee is like planing a rock." Cried she, "Allah's name upon thee. Indeed, I have worn out the mortars with beating wool and pounding drugs, and I am not to blame; the barrenness is with thee, for that thou art a snub-nosed mule and thy sperm is weak and watery and impregnateth not neither getteth children." Said he, "When I return from my journey, I will take another wife;" and she, "My luck is with Allah!" Then he went out from her and both repented of the sharp words spoken each to other. Now as the Emir's wife looked forth of her lattice, as she were a Bride of the Hoards for the jewellery upon her, behold, there stood Dalilah espying her and seeing her clad in costly clothes and ornaments, said to herself, "'Twould be a rare trick, O Dalilah, to entice yonder young lady from her husband's house and strip her of all her jewels and clothes and make off with the whole lot." So she took up her stand under the windows of the Emir's house, and fell to calling aloud upon Allah's name and saying, "Be present, O ye Walis, ye friends of the Lord!" Whereupon every woman in the street looked from her lattice and, seeing a matron clad, after Sufi fashion, in clothes of white wool, as she were a pavilion of light, said, "Allah bring us a blessing by the aidance of this pious old person, from whose face issueth light!" And Khatun, the wife of the Emir Hasan, burst into tears and said to her handmaid, "Get thee down, O Makbulah, and kiss the hand of Shaykh Abu Ali, the porter, and say to him, 'Let yonder Religious enter to my lady, so haply she may get a blessing of her.'" So she went down to the porter and kissing his hand, said to him, "My mistress telleth thee, 'Let yonder pious old woman come in to me, so may I get a blessing of her'; and belike her benediction may extend to us likewise."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundredth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the handmaid went down and said to the porter, "Suffer yonder Religious enter to my lady so haply she may get a blessing of her, and we too may be blessed, one and all," the gate-keeper went up to Dalilah and kissed her hand, but she forbade him, saying, "Away from me, lest my ablution be made null and void. Thou, also, art of the attracted God-wards and kindly looked upon by Allah's Saints and under His especial guardianship. May He deliver thee from this servitude, O Abu Ali!" Now the Emir owed three months' wage to the porter who was straitened thereby, but knew not how to recover his due from his lord; so he said to the old woman, "O my mother, give me to drink from thy pitcher, so I may win a blessing through thee." She took the ewer from her shoulder and whirled it about in air, so that the plug flew out of its mouth and the three dinars fell to the ground. The porter saw them and picked them up, saying in his mind, "Glory to God! This old woman is one of the Saints that have hoards at their command! It hath been revealed to her of me that I am in want of money for daily expenses; so she hath conjured me these three dinars out of the air." Then said he to her, "Take, O my aunt, these three dinars which fell from thy pitcher;" and she replied, "Away with them from me! I am of the folk who occupy not themselves with the things of the world, no never! Take them and use them for thine own benefit, in lieu of those the Emir oweth thee." Quoth he, "Thanks to Allah for succour! This is of the chapter of revelation!" Thereupon the maid accosted her and kissing her hand, carried her up to her mistress. She found the lady as she were a treasure, whose guardian talisman had been loosed; and Khatun bade her welcome and kissed her hand. Quoth she, "O my daughter, I come not to thee save for thy weal and by Allah's will." Then Khatun set food before her; but she said, "O my daughter, I eat naught except of the food of Paradise and I keep continual fast breaking it but five days in the year. But, O my child, I see thee chagrined and desire that thou tell me the cause of thy concern." "O my mother," replied Khatun, "I made my husband swear, on my wedding-night, that he would wive none but me, and he saw others with children and longed for them and said to me, 'Thou art a barren thing!' I answered, 'Thou art a mule which begetteth not'; so he left me in anger, saying, 'When I come back from my journey, I will take another wife,' for he hath villages and lands and large allowances, and if he begat children by another, they will possess the money and take the estates from me." Said Dalilah, "O my daughter, knowest thou not of my master, the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat, whom if any debtor visit, Allah quitteth him his debt, and if a barren woman, she conceiveth?" Khatun replied, "O my mother, since the day of my wedding I have not gone forth the house, no, not even to pay visits of condolence or congratulation." The old woman rejoined, "O my child, I will carry thee to him and do thou cast thy burden on him and make a vow to him: haply when thy husband shall return from his journey and lie with thee thou shalt conceive by him and bear a girl or a boy: but, be it female or male, it shall be a dervish of the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat." Thereupon Khatun rose and arrayed herself in her richest raiment, and donning all her jewellery said, "Keep thou an eye on the house," to her maid, who replied, "I hear and obey, O my lady." Then she went down and the porter Abu Ali met her and asked her, "Whither away, O my lady?" "I go to visit the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat;" answered she; and he, "Be a year's fast incumbent on me! Verily yon Religious is of Allah's saints and full of holiness, O my lady, and she hath hidden treasure at her command, for she gave me three dinars of red gold and divined my case, without my asking her, and knew that I was in want." Then the old woman went out with the young lady Khatun, saying to her, "Inshallah, O my daughter, when thou hast visited the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat, there shall betide thee solace of soul and by leave of Almighty Allah thou shalt conceive, and thy husband the Emir shall love thee by the blessing of the Shaykh and shall never again let thee hear a despiteful word." Quoth Khatun, "I will go with thee to visit him, O my mother!" But Dalilah said to herself, "Where shall I strip her and take her clothes and jewellery, with the folk coming and going?" Then she said to her, "O my daughter, walk thou behind me, within sight of me, for this thy mother is a woman sorely burdened; everyone who hath a burden casteth it on me and all who have pious offerings to make give them to me and kiss my hand." So the young lady followed her at a distance, whilst her anklets tinkled and her hair-coins clinked as she went, till they reached the bazar of the merchants. Presently, they came to the shop of a young merchant, by name Sidi Hasan who was very handsome and had no hair on his face. He saw the lady approaching and fell to casting stolen glances at her, which when the old woman saw, she beckoned to her and said, "Sit down in this shop, till I return to thee." Khatun obeyed her and sat down in the shop- front of the young merchant, who cast at her one glance of eyes that cost him a thousand sighs. Then the old woman accosted him and saluted him, saying, "Tell me, is not thy name Sidi Hasan, son of the merchant Mohsin?" He replied, "Yes, who told thee my name?" Quoth she, "Folk of good repute direct me to thee. Know that this young lady is my daughter and her father was a merchant who died and left her much money. She is come of marriageable age and the wise say, 'Offer thy daughter in marriage and not thy son'; and all her life she hath not come forth the house till this day. Now a divine warning and a command given in secret bid me wed her to thee; so, if thou art poor, I will give thee capital and will open for thee instead of one shop two shops." Thereupon quoth the young merchant to himself, "I asked Allah for a bride, and He hath given me three things, to wit, coin, clothing, and coynte." Then he continued to the old trot, "O my mother, that where-to thou directest me is well; but this long while my mother saith to me, 'I wish to marry thee,' but I object replying, 'I will not marry except on the sight of my own eyes.'" Said Dalilah, "Rise and follow my steps, and I will show her to thee, naked." So he rose and took a thousand dinars, saying in himself, "Haply we may need to buy somewhat"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and First Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old woman said to Hasan, son of Mohsin the merchant, "Rise up and follow me, and I will show her naked to thee." So he rose and took with him a thousand dinars, saying in himself, "Haply we may need to buy somewhat or pay the fees for drawing up the marriage contract." The old woman bade him walk behind the young lady at a distance but within shot of sight and said to herself, "Where wilt thou carry the young lady and the merchant that thou mayest strip them both whilst his shop is still shut?" Then she walked on and Khatun after her, followed by the young merchant, till she came to a dyery, kept by a master dyer, by name Hajj Mohammed, a man of ill-repute; like the colocasia seller's knife cutting male and female, and loving to eat both figs and pomegranates. He heard the tinkle of the ankle rings and, raising his head, saw the lady and the young man. Presently the old woman came up to him and, after salaming to him and sitting down opposite him, asked him, "Art thou not Hajj Mohammed the dyer?" He answered, "Yes, I am he: what dost thou want?" Quoth she, "Verily, folks of fair repute have directed me to thee. Look at yonder handsome girl, my daughter, and that comely beardless youth, my son; I brought them both up and spent much money on both of them. Now, thou must know that I have a big old ruinous house which I have shored up with wood, and the builder saith to me, 'Go and live in some other place, lest belike it fall upon thee; and when this is repaired return hither.' So I went forth to seek me a lodging, and people of worth directed me to thee, and I wish to lodge my son and daughter with thee." Quoth the dyer in his mind, "Verily, here is fresh butter upon cake come to thee." But he said to the old woman, "'Tis true I have a house and saloon and upper floor; but I cannot spare any part thereof, for I want it all for guests and for the indigo- growers my clients." She replied, "O my son, 'twill be only for a month or two at the most, till our house be repaired, and we are strange folk. Let the guest-chamber be shared between us and thee, and by thy life, O my son, an thou desire that thy guests be ours, we will welcome them and eat with them and sleep with them." Then he gave her the keys, one big and one small and one crooked, saying to her "The big key is that of the house, the crooked one that of the saloon and the little one that of the upper floor." So Dalilah took the keys and fared on, followed by the lady who forwent the young merchant, till she came to the lane wherein was the house. She opened the door and entered, introducing the damsel to whom said she, "O my daughter, this (pointing to the saloon) is the lodging of the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat; but go thou into the upper floor and loose thy outer veil and wait till I come to thee." So she went up and sat down. Presently appeared the young merchant, whom Dalilah carried into the saloon, saying, "Sit down, whilst I fetch my daughter and show her to thee." So he sat down and the old trot went up to Khatun who said to her, "I wish to visit the Shaykh, before the folk come." Replied the beldame, "O my daughter, we fear for thee." Asked Khatun, "Why so?" and Dalilah answered, "Because here is a son of mine, a natural who knoweth not summer from winter, but goeth ever naked. He is the Shaykh's deputy and, if he saw a girl like thee come to visit his chief, he would snatch her earrings and tear her ears and rend her silken robes. So do thou doff thy jewellery and clothes and I will keep them for thee, till thou hast made thy pious visitation." Accordingly the damsel did off her outer dress and jewels and gave them to the old woman, who said, "I will lay them for thee on the Shaykh's curtain, that a blessing may betide thee." Then she went out, leaving the lady in her shift and petticoat-trousers, and hid the clothes and jewels in a place on the staircase; after which she betook herself to the young merchant, whom she found impatiently awaiting the girl, and he cried, "Where is thy daughter, that I may see her?" But she smote palm on breast and he said "What aileth thee?" Quoth she, "Would there were no such thing as the ill neighbour and the envious! They saw thee enter the house with me and asked me of thee; and I said, 'This is a bridegroom I have found for my daughter.' So they envied me on thine account and said to my girl, 'Is thy mother tired of keeping thee, that she marrieth thee to a leper?' There-upon I swore to her that she should not see thee save naked." Quoth he, "I take refuge with Allah from the envious," and baring his fore-arm, showed her that it was like silver. Said she, "Have no fear; thou shalt see her naked, even as she shall see thee naked;" and he said, "Let her come and look at me. Then he put off his pelisse and sables and his girdle and dagger and the rest of his raiment, except his shirt and bag-trousers, and would have laid the purse of a thousand dinars with them, but Dalilah cried, 'Give them to me, that I may take care of them." So she took them and fetching the girl's clothes and jewellery shouldered the whole and locking the door upon them went her ways.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Second Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman had taken the property of the young merchant and the damsel and wended her ways, having locked the door upon them, she deposited her spoils with a druggist of her acquaintance and returned to the dyer, whom she found sitting, awaiting her. Quoth he, "Inshallah, the house pleaseth thee?"; and quoth she, "There is a blessing in it; and I go now to fetch porters to carry hither our goods and furniture. But my children would have me bring them a panade with meat; so do thou take this dinar and buy the dish and go and eat the morning meal with them." Asked the dyer, "Who shall guard the dyery meanwhile and the people's goods that be therein?"; and the old woman answered, "Thy lad!" "So be it," rejoined he, and taking a dish and cover, went out to do her bidding. So far concerning the dyer who will again be mentioned in the tale; but as regards the old woman, she fetched the clothes and jewels she had left with the druggist and going back to the dyery, said to the lad, "Run after thy master, and I will not stir hence till you both return." "To hear is to obey," answered he and went away, while she began to collect all the customers' goods. Presently, there came up an ass-driver, a scavenger, who had been out of work for a week and who was an Hashish-eater to boot; and she called him, saying, "Hither, O donkey-boy!" So he came to her and she asked, "Knowest thou my son the dyer?"; whereto he answered, "Yes, I know him." Then she said, "The poor fellow is insolvent and loaded with debts, and as often as he is put in prison, I set him free. Now we wish to see him declared bankrupt and I am going to return the goods to their owners; so do thou lend me thine ass to carry the load and receive this dinar to its hire. When I am gone, take the handsaw and empty out the vats and jars and break them, so that if there come an officer from the Kazi's court, he may find nothing in the dyery." Quoth he, "I owe the Hajj a kindness and will do something for Allah's love." So she laid the things on the ass and, the Protector protecting her, made for her own house; so that she arrived there in safety and went in to her daughter Zaynab, who said to her, "O my mother, my heart bath been with thee! What hast thou done by way of roguery?" Dalilah replied, "I have played off four tricks on four wights; the wife of the Serjeant-usher, a young merchant, a dyer and an ass-driver, and have brought thee all their spoil on the donkey-boy's beast." Cried Zaynab, "O my mother, thou wilt never more be able to go about the town, for fear of the Serjeant-usher, whose wife's raiment and jewellery thou hast taken, and the merchant whom thou hast stripped naked, and the dyer whose customers' goods thou hast stolen and the owner of the ass." Rejoined the old woman, "Pooh, my girl! I reck not of them, save the donkey-boy, who knoweth me." Meanwhile the dyer bought the meat-panade and set out for the house, followed by his servant with the food on head. On his way thither, he passed his shop, where he found the donkey- boy breaking the vats and jars and saw that there was neither stuff nor liquor left in them and that the dyery was in ruins. So he said to him, "Hold thy hand, O ass-driver;" and the donkey-boy desisted and cried, "Praised be Allah for thy safety, O master! Verily my heart was with thee." "Why so?" "Thou art become bankrupt and they have filed a docket of thine insolvency." "Who told thee this?" "Thy mother told me, and bade me break the jars and empty the vats, that the Kazi's officers might find nothing in the shop, if they should come." "Allah confound the far One!" cried the dyer; "My mother died long ago." And he beat his breast, exclaiming, "Alas, for the loss of my goods and those of the folk!" The donkey-boy also wept and ejaculated, "Alas, for the loss of my ass!"; and he said to the dyer, "Give me back my beast which thy mother stole from me." The dyer laid hold of him by the throat and fell to buffeting him, saying, "Bring me the old woman;" whilst the other buffeted him in return saying, "Give me back my beast." So they beat and cursed each other, till the folk collected around them--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Third Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the dyer caught hold of the donkey-boy and the donkey-boy caught hold of the dyer and they beat and cursed each other till the folk collected round them and one of them asked, "What is the matter, O Master Mohammed?" The ass-driver answered, "I will tell thee the tale," and related to them his story, saying, "I deemed I was doing the dyer a good turn; but, when he saw me he beat his breast and said, 'My mother is dead.' And now, I for one require my ass of him, it being he who hath put this trick on me, that he might make me lose my beast." Then said the folk to the dyer, "O Master Mohammed, dost thou know this matron, that thou didst entrust her with the dyery and all therein?" And he replied, "I know her not; but she took lodgings with me to-day, she and her son and daughter." Quoth one, "In my judgment, the dyer is bound to indemnify the ass- driver." Quoth another, "Why so?" "Because," replied the first, "he trusted not the old Woman nor gave her his ass save only because he saw that the dyer had entrusted her with the dyery and its contents." And a third said, "O master, since thou hast lodged her with thee, it behoveth thee to get the man back his ass." Then they made for the house, and the tale will come round to them again. Mean-while, the young merchant remained awaiting the old woman's coming with her daughter, but she came not nor did her daughter; whilst the young lady in like manner sat expecting her return with leave from her son, the God-attended one, the Shaykh's deputy, to go in to the holy presence. So weary of waiting, she rose to visit the Shaykh by herself and went down into the saloon, where she found the young merchant, who said to her, "Come hither! where is thy mother, who brought me to marry thee?" She replied, "My mother is dead, art thou the old woman's son, the ecstatic, the deputy of the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat?" Quoth he, "The swindling old trot is no mother of mine; she hath cheated me and taken my clothes and a thousand dinars." Quoth Khatun, "And me also hath she swindled for she brought me to see the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat and in lieu of so doing she hath stripped me." Thereupon he, "I look to thee to make good my clothes and my thousand dinars;" and she, "I look to thee to make good my clothes and jewellery." And, behold, at this moment in came the dyer and seeing them both stripped of their raiment, said to them, "Tell me where your mother is." So the young lady related all that had befallen her and the young merchant related all that had betided him, and the Master-dyer exclaimed, "Alas, for the loss of my goods and those of the folk!"; and the ass-driver ejaculated, "Alas, for my ass! Give me, O dyer, my ass!" Then said the dyer, "This old woman is a sharper. Come forth, that I may lock the door." Quoth the young merchant, "'Twere a disgrace to thee that we should enter thy house dressed and go forth from it undressed." So the dyer clad him and the damsel and sent her back to her house where we shall find her after the return of her husband. Then he shut the dyery and said to the young merchant, "Come, let us go and search for the old woman and hand her over to the Wali, the Chief of Police." So they and the ass-man repaired to the house of the master of police and made their complaint to him. Quoth he, "O folk, what want ye?" and when they told him he rejoined, "How many old women are there not in the town! Go ye and seek for her and lay hands on her and bring her to me, and I will torture her for you and make her confess." So they sought for her all round the town; and an account of them will presently be given. As for old Dalilah the Wily, she said, "I have a mind to play off another trick," to her daughter who answered, "O my mother, I fear for thee;" but the beldam cried, "I am like the bean husks which fall, proof against fire and water." So she rose, and donning a slave-girl's dress of such as serve people of condition, went out to look for some one to defraud. Presently she came to a by-street, spread with carpets and lighted with hanging lamps, and heard a noise of singing-women and drumming of tambourines. Here she saw a handmaid bearing on her shoulder a boy, clad in trousers laced with silver and a little Aba-cloak of velvet, with a pearl embroidered Tarbush-cap on his head, and about his neck a collar of gold set with jewels. Now the house belonged to the Provost of the Merchants of Baghdad, and the boy was his son. He had a virgin daughter, to boot, who was promised in marriage, and it was her betrothal they were celebrating that day. There was with her mother a company of noble dames and singing-women, and whenever she went upstairs or down, the boy clung to her. So she called the slave-girl and said to her, "Take thy young master and play with him, till the company break up." Seeing this, Dalilah asked the handmaid, "What festivities are these in your mistress's house;" and was answered "She celebrates her daughter's betrothal this day, and she hath singing-women with her." Quoth the old woman to herself, "O Dalilah, the thing to do is to spirit away this boy from the maid,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old trot said to herself, "O Dalilah, the thing to do is to spirit away this boy from the maid!" she began crying out, "O disgrace! O ill luck!" Then pulling out a brass token, resembling a dinar, she said to the maid, who was a simpleton, "Take this ducat and go in to thy mistress and say to her, 'Umm al-Khayr rejoiceth with thee and is beholden to thee for thy favours, and on the day of assembly she and her daughters will visit thee and handsel the tiring-women with the usual gifts.'" Said the girl, "O my mother, my young master here catcheth hold of his mamma, whenever he seeth her;" and she replied "Give him to me, whilst thou goest in and comest back." So she gave her the child and taking the token, went in; whereupon Dalilah made off with the boy to a by-lane, where she stripped him of his clothes and jewels, saying to herself, "O Dalilah, 'twould indeed be the finest of tricks, even as thou hast cheated the maid and taken the boy from her, so now to carry on the game and pawn him for a thousand dinars." So she repaired to the jewel-bazar, where she saw a Jew goldsmith seated with a cage full of jewellery before him, and said to herself, "'Twould be a rare trick to chouse this Jew fellow and get a thousand gold pieces worth of jewellery from him and leave the boy in pledge for it." Presently the Jew looked at them and seeing the boy with the old woman, knew him for the son of the Provost of the Merchants. Now the Israelite was a man of great wealth, but would envy his neighbour if he sold and himself did not sell; so espying Dalilah, he said to her, "What seekest thou, O my mistress?" She asked, "Art thou Master Azariah the Jew?" having first enquired his name of others; and he answered, "Yes." Quoth she, "This boy's sister, daughter of the Shahbandar of the Merchants, is a promised bride, and to- day they celebrate her betrothal; and she hath need of jewellery. So give me two pair of gold ankle-rings, a brace of gold bracelets, and pearl ear-drops, with a girdle, a poignard and a seal-ring." He brought them out and she took of him a thousand dinars' worth of jewellery, saying, "I will take these ornaments on approval; and whatso pleaseth them, they will keep and I will bring thee the price and leave this boy with thee till then." He said, "Be it as thou wilt!" So she took the jewellery and made off to her own house, where her daughter asked her how the trick had sped. She told her how she had taken and stripped the Shahbandar's boy, and Zaynab said, "Thou wilt never be able to walk abroad again in the town." Meanwhile, the maid went in to her mistress and said to her, "O my lady, Umm al-Khayr saluteth thee and rejoiceth with thee and on assembly-day she will come, she and her daughters, and give the customary presents." Quoth her mistress, "Where is thy young master?" Quoth the slave-girl, "I left him with her lest he cling to thee, and she gave me this, as largesse for the singing-women." So the lady said to the chief of the singers, "Take thy money;" and she took it and found it a brass counter; whereupon the lady cried to the maid, "Get thee down, O whore, and look to thy young master." Accordingly, she went down and finding neither boy nor old woman, shrieked aloud and fell on her face. Their joy was changed into annoy, and behold, the Provost came in, when his wife told him all that had befallen and he went out in quest of the child, whilst the other merchants also fared forth and each sought his own road. Presently, the Shahbandar, who had looked every-where, espied his son seated, naked, in the Jew's shop and said to tile owner, "This is my son." "'Tis well," answered the Jew. So he took him up, without asking for his clothes, of the excess of his joy at finding him; but the Jew laid hold of him, saying, "Allah succour the Caliph against thee!" The Provost asked, "What aileth thee, O Jew?"; and he answered, "Verily the old woman took of me a thousand dinars' worth of jewellery for thy daughter, and left this lad in pledge for the price; and I had not trusted her, but that she offered to leave the child whom I knew for thy Son." Said the Provost, "My daughter needeth no jewellery, give me the boy's clothes." Thereupon the Jew shrieked out, "Come to my aid, O Moslems!" but at that moment up came the dyer and the ass-man and the young merchant, who were going about, seeking the old woman, and enquired the cause of their jangle. So they told them the case and they said, "This old woman is a cheat, who hath cheated us before you." Then they recounted to them how she had dealt with them, and the Provost said, "Since I have found my son, be his clothes his ransom! If I come upon the old woman, I will require them of her." And he carried the child home to his mother, who rejoiced in his safety. Then the Jew said to the three others "Whither go ye?"; and they answered, "We go to look for her." Quoth the Jew, "Take me with you," presently adding, "Is there any one of you knoweth her?" The donkey-boy cried, "I know her;" and the Jew said, "If we all go forth together, we shall never catch her; for she will flee from us. Let each take a different road, and be our rendezvous at the shop of Hajj Mas'ud, the Moorish barber." They agreed to this and set off, each in a different direction. Presently, Dalilah sallied forth again to play her tricks and the ass-driver met her and knew her. So he caught hold of her and said to her, "Woe to thee! Hast thou been long at this trade?" She asked, "What aileth thee?"; and he answered, "Give me back my ass." Quoth she, "Cover what Allah covereth, O my son! Dost thou seek thine ass and the people's things?" Quoth he, "I want my ass; that's all;" and quoth she, "I saw that thou wast poor: so I deposited thine ass for thee with the Moorish barber. Stand off, whilst I speak him fair, that he may give thee the beast." So she went up to the Maghrabi and kissed his hand and shed tears. He asked her what ailed her and she said, "O my son, look at my boy who standeth yonder. He was ill and exposed himself to the air, which injured his intellect. He used to buy asses and now, if he stand he saith nothing but, My ass! if he sit he crieth, My ass! and if he walk he crieth, My ass! Now I have been told by a certain physician that his mind is disordered and that nothing will cure him but drawing two of his grinders and cauterising him twice on either temple. So do thou take this dinar and call him to thee, saying, 'Thine ass is with me.'" Said the barber, "May I fast for a year, if I do not give him his ass in his fist!" Now he had with him two journeymen, so he said to one of them "Go, heat the irons." Then the old woman went her way and the barber called to the donkey-boy, saying, "Thine ass is with me, good fellow! come and take him, and as thou livest, I will give him into thy palm." So he came to him and the barber carried him into a dark room, where he knocked him down and the journeymen bound him hand and foot. Then the Maghrabi arose and pulled out two of his grinders and fired him on either temple; after which he let him go, and he rose and said, "O Moor, why hast thou used me with this usage?" Quoth the barber, "Thy mother told me that thou hadst taken cold whilst ill, and hadst lost thy reason, so that, whether sitting or standing or walking, thou wouldst say nothing but My ass! So here is thine ass in thy fist." Said the other, "Allah requite thee for pulling out my teeth." Then the barber told him all that the old woman had related and he exclaimed, "Allah torment her!"; and the twain left the shop and went out, disputing. When the barber returned, he found his booth empty, for, whilst he was absent, the old woman had taken all that was therein and made off with it to her daughter, whom she acquainted with all that had befallen and all she had done. The barber, seeing his place plundered, caught hold of the donkey-boy and said to him, "Bring me thy mother" But he answered, saying, "She is not my mother; she is a sharper who hath cozened much people and stolen my ass." And lo! at this moment up came the dyer and the Jew and the young merchant, and seeing the Moorish barber holding on to the ass-driver who was fired on both temples, they said to him, "What hath befallen thee, O donkey-boy?" So he told them all that had betided him and the barber did the like; and the others in turn related to the Moor the tricks the old woman had played them. Then he shut up his shop and went with them to the office of the Police-master to whom they said, "We look to thee for our case and our coin." Quoth the Wali, "And how many old women are there not in Baghdad! Say me, doth any of you know her?" Quoth the ass-man, "I do; so give me ten of thine officers." He gave them half a score archers and they all five went out, followed by the sergeants, and patrolled the city, till they met the old woman, when they laid hands on her and carrying her to the house of the Chief of Police, stood waiting under his office windows till he should come forth. Presently, the warders fell asleep, for excess of watching with their chief, and old Dalilah feigned to follow their example, till the ass-man and his fellows slept likewise, when she stole away from them and, going in to the Wali's Harim, kissed the hand of the mistress of the house and asked her "Where is the Chief of Police?" The lady answered, "He is asleep; what wouldst thou with him?" Quoth Dalilah, "My husband is a merchant of chattels and gave me five Mamelukes to sell, whilst he went on a journey. The Master of Police met me and bought them of me for a thousand dinars and two hundred for myself, saying, 'Bring them to my house.' So I have brought them."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old woman, entering the Harim of the Police-Master, said to his wife, "Verily the Wali bought of me five slaves for one thousand ducats and two hundred for myself, saying, 'Bring them to my quarters.' So I have brought them." Hearing the old woman's story she believed it and asked her, "Where are the slaves?" Dalilah replied, "O my lady, they are asleep under the palace window"; whereupon the dame looked out and seeing the Moorish barber clad in a Mameluke habit and the young merchant as he were a drunken Mameluke and the Jew and the dyer and the ass-driver as they were shaven Mamelukes, said in herself, "Each of these white slaves is worth more than a thousand dinars." So she opened her chest and gave the old woman the thousand ducats, saying, "Fare thee forth now and come back anon; when my husband waketh, I will get thee the other two hundred dinars from him." Answered the old woman, "O my lady, an hundred of them are thine, under the sherbert-gugglet whereof thou drinkest, and the other hundred do thou keep for me against I come back," presently adding, "Now let me out by the private door." So she let her out, and the Protector protected her and she made her way home to her daughter, to whom she related how she had gotten a thousand gold pieces and sold her five pursuers into slavery, ending with, "O my daughter, the one who troubleth me most is the ass-driver, for he knoweth me." Said Zaynab, "O my mother, abide quiet awhile and let what thou hast done suffice thee, for the crock shall not always escape the shock." When the Chief of Police awoke, his wife said to him, "I give thee joy of the five slaves thou hast bought of the old woman." Asked he, "What slaves?" And she answered, "Why dost thou deny it to me? Allah willing, they shall become like thee people of condition." Quoth he, "As my head liveth, I have bought no slaves! Who saith this?" Quoth she, "The old woman, the brokeress, from whom thou boughtest them; and thou didst promise her a thousand dinars for them and two hundred for herself." Cried he, "Didst thou give her the money?" And she replied, "Yes; for I saw the slaves with my own eyes, and on each is a suit of clothes worth a thousand dinars; so I sent out to bid the sergeants have an eye to them." The Wali went out and, seeing the five plaintiffs, said to the officers, "Where are the five slaves we bought for a thousand dinars of the old woman?" Said they, "There are no slaves here; only these five men, who found the old woman, and seized her and brought her hither. We fell asleep, whilst waiting for thee, and she stole away and entered the Harim. Presently out came a maid and asked us, 'Are the five with you with whom the old woman came?'; and we answered, 'Yes.'" Cried the Master of Police, "By Allah, this is the biggest of swindles!"; and the five men said, "We look to thee for our goods." Quoth the Wali, "The old woman, your mistress, sold you to me for a thousand gold pieces." Quoth they, "That were not allowed of Allah; we are free-born men and may not be sold, and we appeal from thee to the Caliph." Rejoined the Master of Police, "None showed her the way to the house save you, and I will sell you to the galleys for two hundred dinars apiece." Just then, behold, up came the Emir Hasan Sharr al-Tarik who, on his return from his journey, had found his wife stripped of her clothes and jewellery and heard from her all that had passed; whereupon quoth he, "The Master of Police shall answer me this" and repairing to him, said "Dost thou suffer old women to go round about the town and cozen folk of their goods? This is thy duty and I look to thee for my wife's property." Then said he to the five men, "What is the case with you?" So they told him their stories and he said, "Ye are wronged men," and turning to the Master of Police, asked him, "Why dost thou arrest them?" Answered he, "None brought the old wretch to my house save these five, so that she took a thousand dinars of my money and sold them to my women." Whereupon the five cried, "O Emir Hasan, be thou our advocate in this cause." Then said the Master of Police to the Emir, "Thy wife's goods are at my charge and I will be surety for the old woman. But which of you knoweth her?" They cried, "We all know her: send ten apparitors with us, and we will take her." So he gave them ten men, and the ass-driver said to them, "Follow me, for I should know her with blue eyes." Then they fared forth and lo! they meet old Dalilah coming out of a by-street: so they at once laid hands on her and brought her to the office of the Wali who asked her, "Where are the people's goods?" But she answered, saying, "I have neither gotten them nor seen them." Then he cried to the gaoler, "Take her with thee and clap her in gaol till the morning;" but he replied, "I will not take her nor will I imprison her lest she play a trick on me and I be answerable for her." So the Master of Police mounted and rode out with Dalilah and the rest to the bank of the Tigris, where he bade the lamp-lighter crucify her by her hair. He drew her up by the pulley and bound her on the cross; after which the Master of Police set ten men to guard her and went home. Presently, the night fell down and sleep overcame the watchmen. Now a certain Badawi had heard one man say to a friend, "Praise be to Allah for thy safe return! Where hast thou been all this time?" Replied the other, "In Baghdad where I broke my fast on honey-fritters." Quoth the Badawi to himself "Needs must I go to Baghdad and eat honey- fritters therein"; for in all his life he had never entered Baghdad nor seen fritters of the sort. So he mounted his stallion and rode on towards Baghdad, saying in his mind, "'Tis a fine thing to eat honey-fritters! On the honour of an Arab, I will break my fast with honey-fritters and naught else!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wild Arab mounted horse and made for Baghdad saying in his mind, "'Tis a fine thing to eat honey-fritters! On the honour of an Arab I will break my fast with honey-fritters and naught else;" and he rode on till he came to the place where Dalilah was crucified and she heard him utter these words. So he went up to her and said to her, "What art thou?" Quoth she, "I throw myself on thy protection, O Shaykh of the Arabs!" and quoth lie, "Allah indeed protect thee! But what is the cause of thy crucifixion?" Said she, "I have an enemy, an oilman, who frieth fritters, and I stopped to buy some of him, when I chanced to spit and my spittle fell on the fritters. So he complained of me to the Governor who commanded to crucify me, saying, 'I adjudge that ye take ten pounds of honey-fritters and feed her therewith upon the cross. If she eat them, let her go, but if not, leave her hanging.' And my stomach will not brook sweet things." Cried the Badawi, "By the honour of the Arabs, I departed not the camp but that I might taste of honey-fritters! I will eat them for thee." Quoth she, "None may eat them, except he be hung up in my place." So he fell into the trap and unbound her; whereupon she bound him in her stead, after she had stripped him of his clothes and turband and put them on; then covering herself with his burnouse and mounting his horse, she rode to her house, where Zaynab asked her, "What meaneth this plight?"; and she answered, "They crucified me;" and told her all that had befallen her with the Badawi. This is how it fared with her; but as regards the watchmen, the first who woke roused his companions and they saw that the day had broken. So one of them raised his eyes and cried, "Dalilah." Replied the Badawi, "By Allah! I have not eaten all night. Have ye brought the honey-fritters?" All exclaimed, "This is a man and a Badawi, and one of them asked him, "O Badawi, where is Dalilah and who loosed her?" He answered, "'Twas I; she shall not eat the honey-fritters against her will; for her soul abhorreth them." So they knew that the Arab was ignorant of her case, whom she had cozened, and said to one another, "Shall we flee or abide the accomplishment of that which Allah hath written for us?" As they were talking, up came the Chief of Police, with all the folk whom the old woman had cheated, and said to the guards, "Arise, loose Dalilah." Quoth the Badawi, "We have not eaten to-night. Hast thou brought the honey-fritters?" Whereupon the Wali raised his eyes to the cross and seeing the Badawi hung up in the stead of the old woman, said to the watchmen, "What is this?" "Pardon, O our lord!" "Tell me what hath happened" "We were weary with watching with thee on guard and , 'Dalilah is crucified.' So we fell asleep, and when we awoke, we found the Badawi hung up in her room; and we are at thy mercy." "O folk, Allah's pardon be upon you! She is indeed a clever cheat!" Then they unbound the Badawi, who laid hold of the Master of Police, saying, "Allah succour the Caliph against thee! I look to none but thee for my horse and clothes!" So the Wali questioned him and he told him what had passed between Dalilah and himself. The magistrate marvelled and asked him, "Why didst thou release her?"; and the Badawi answered, "I knew not that she was a felon." Then said the others, "O Chief of Police, we look to thee in the matter of our goods; for we delivered the old woman into thy hands and she was in thy guard; and we cite thee before the Divan of the Caliph." Now the Emir Hasan had gone up to the Divan, when in came the Wali with the Badawi and the five others, saying, "Verily, we are wronged men!" "Who hath wronged you?" asked the Caliph; so each came forward in turn and told his story, after which said the Master of Police, "O Commander of the Faithful, the old woman cheated me also and sold me these five men as slaves for a thousand dinars, albeit they are free-born." Quoth the Prince of True Believers, "I take upon myself all that you have lost"; adding to the Master of Police, "I charge thee with the old woman." But he shook his collar, saying, "O Commander of the Faithful, I will not answer for her; for, after I had hung her on the cross, she tricked this Badawi and, when he loosed her, she tied him up in her room and made off with his clothes and horse." Quoth the Caliph, "Whom but thee shall I charge with her?"; and quoth the Wali, "Charge Ahmad al-Danaf, for he hath a thousand dinars a month and one-and-forty followers, at a monthly wage of an hundred dinars each." So the Caliph said, "Harkye, Captain Ahmad!" "At thy service, O Commander of the Faithful," said he; and the Caliph cried, "I charge thee to bring the old woman before us." Replied Ahmad, "I will answer for her." Then the Caliph kept the Badawi and the five with him,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventh Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Caliph said to Calamity Ahmad, "I charge thee to bring the old woman before us," he said, "I will answer for her O Commander of the Faithful!" Then the Caliph kept the Badawi and the five with him, whilst Ahmad and his men went down to their hall, saying to one another, "How shall we lay hands on her, seeing that there are many old women in the town?" And quoth Ahmad to Hasan Shuman, "What counsellest thou?" Whereupon quoth one of them, by name Ali Kitf al- Jamal, to Al-Danaf, "Of what dost thou take counsel with Hasan Shuman? Is the Pestilent one any great shakes?" Said Hasan, "O Ali, why dost thou disparage me? By the Most Great Name, I will not company with thee at this time!"; and he rose and went out in wrath. Then said Ahmad, "O my braves, let every sergeant take ten men, each to his own quarter and search for Dalilah." All did his bidding, Ali included, and they said, "Ere we disperse let us agree to rendezvous in the quarter Al-Kalkh." It was noised abroad in the city that Calamity Ahmad had undertaken to lay hands on Dalilah the Wily, and Zaynab said to her, "O my mother, an thou be indeed a trickstress, do thou befool Ahmad al-Danaf and his company." Answered Dalilah, "I fear none save Hasan Shuman;" and Zaynab said, "By the life of my browlock, I will assuredly get thee the clothes of all the one-and-forty." Then she dressed and veiled herself and going to a certain druggist, who had a saloon with two doors, salamed to him and gave him an ashrafi and said to him, "Take this gold piece as a douceur for thy saloon and let it to me till the end of the day." So he gave her the keys and she fetched carpets and so forth on the stolen ass and furnishing the place, set on each raised pavement a tray of meat and wine. Then she went out and stood at the door, with her face unveiled and behold, up came Ali Kitf al-Jamal and his men. She kissed his hand; and he fell in love with her, seeing her to be a handsome girl, and said to her, "What dost thou want?" Quoth she, "Art thou Captain Ahmad al-Danaf?"; and quoth he, "No, but I am of his company and my name is Ali Camel-shoulder." Asked she, "Whither fare you?"; and he answered, "We go about in quest of a sharkish old woman, who hath stolen folk's good, and we mean to lay hands on her. But who art thou and what is thy business?" She replied, "My father was a taverner at Mosul and he died and left me much money. So I came hither, for fear of the Dignities, and asked the people who would protect me, to which they replied, 'None but Ahmad al-Danaf.'" Said the men, "From this day forth, thou art under his protection"; and she replied, "Hearten me by eating a bit and drinking a sup of water." They consented and entering, ate and drank till they were drunken, when she drugged them with Bhang and stripped them of their clothes and arms; and on like wise she did with the three other companions. Presently, Calamity Ahmad went out to look for Dalilah, but found her not, neither set eyes on any of his followers, and went on till he came to the door where Zaynab was standing. She kissed his hand and he looked on her and fell in love with her. Quoth she, "Art thou Captain Ahmad al- Danaf?"; and quoth he, "Yes: who art thou?" She replied, "I am a stranger from Mosul. My father was a vintner at that place and he died and left me much money wherewith I came to this city, for fear of the powers that be, and opened this tavern. The Master of Police hath imposed a tax on me, but it is my desire to put myself under thy protection and pay thee what the police would take of me, for thou hast the better right to it." Quoth he, "Do not pay him aught: thou shalt have my protection and welcome." Then quoth she, "Please to heal my heart and eat of my victual," So he entered and ate and drank wine, till he could not sit upright, when she drugged him and took his clothes and arms. Then she loaded her purchase on the Badawi's horse and the donkey-boy's ass and made off with it, after she had aroused Ali Kitf al- Jamal. Camel-shoulder awoke and found himself naked and saw Ahmad and his men drugged and stripped: so he revived them with the counter-drug and they awoke and found themselves naked. Quoth Calamity Ahmad, "O lads, what is this? We were going to catch her, and lo! this strumpet hath caught us! How Hasan Shuman will rejoice over us! But we will wait till it is dark and then go away." Meanwhile Pestilence Hasan said to the hall-keeper, "Where are the men?"; and as he asked, up they came naked; and he recited these two couplets,
"Men in their purposes are much alike, * But in their issues difference comes to light:
Of men some wise are, others simple souls; * As of the stars some dull, some pearly bright.
Then he looked at them and asked, "Who hath played you this trick and made you naked?"; and they answered, "We went in quest of an old woman, and a pretty girl stripped us." Quoth Hasan, "She hath done right well." They asked, "Dost thou know her?"; and he answered, "Yes, I know her and the old trot too." Quoth they, "What shall we say to the Caliph?"; and quoth he, "O Danaf, do thou shake thy collar before him, and he will say, 'Who is answerable for her'; and if he ask why thou hast not caught her; say thou, 'We know her not; but charge Hasan Shuman with her.' And if he give her into my charge, I will lay hands on her." So they slept that night and on the morrow they went up to the Caliph's Divan and kissed ground before him. Quoth he, "Where is the old woman, O Captain Ahmad?" But he shook his collar. The Caliph asked him why he did so, and he answered, "I know her not; but do thou charge Hasan Shuman to lay hands on her, for he knoweth her and her daughter also." Then Hasan interceded for her with the Caliph, saying, "Indeed, she hath not played off these tricks, because she coveted the folk's stuff, but to show her cleverness and that of her daughter, to the intent that thou shouldst continue her husband's stipend to her and that of her father to her daughter. So an thou wilt spare her life I will fetch her to thee." Cried the Caliph, "By the life of my ancestors, if she restore the people's goods, I will pardon her on thine intercession!" And said the Pestilence, "Give me a pledge, O Prince of True Believers!" Whereupon Al-Rashid gave him the kerchief of pardon. So Hasan repaired to Dalilah's house and called to her. Her daughter Zaynab answered him and he asked her, "Where is thy mother?" "Upstairs," she answered; and he said, "Bid her take the people's goods and come with me to the presence of the Caliph; for I have brought her the kerchief of pardon, and if she will not come with a good grace, let her blame only herself." So Dalilah came down and tying the kerchief about her neck gave him the people's goods on the donkey-boy's ass and the Badawi's horse. Quoth he, "There remain the clothes of my Chief and his men"; and quoth she, "By the Most Great Name, 'twas not I who stripped them!" Rejoined Hasan, "Thou sayst sooth, it was thy daughter Zaynab's doing, and this was a good turn she did thee." Then he carried her to the Divan and laying the people's goods and stuff before the Caliph, set the old trot in his presence. As soon as he saw her, he bade throw her down on the carpet of blood, whereat she cried, "I cast myself on thy protection, O Shuman."' So he rose and kissing the Caliph's hands, said, "Pardon, O Commander of the Faithful! Indeed, thou gavest me the kerchief of pardon." Said the Prince of True Believers, "I pardon her for thy sake: come hither, O old woman; what is thy name?" "My name is Wily Dalilah," answered she, and the Caliph said "Thou art indeed crafty and full of guile." Whence she was dubbed Dalilah the Wily One. Then quoth he, "Why hast thou played all these tricks on the folk and wearied our hearts?" and quoth she, "I did it not of lust for their goods, but because I had heard of the tricks which Ahmad al-Danaf and Hasan Shuman played in Baghdad and said to myself, 'I too will do the like.' And now I have returned the folk their goods." But the ass-driver rose and said "I invoke Allah's law between me and her; for it sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs egg on the Moorish barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both temples."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the donkey-boy rose and cried out, "I invoke Allah's law between me and her; for it sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs egg on the barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both temples;" thereupon the Caliph bade give him an hundred dinars and ordered the dyer the like, saying, "Go; set up thy dyery again." So they called down blessings on his head and went away. The Badawi also took his clothes and horse and departed, saying, "'Tis henceforth unlawful and forbidden me to enter Baghdad and eat honey-fritters." And the others took their goods and went away. Then said the Caliph, "Ask a boon of me, O Dalilah!"; and she said, "Verily, my father was governor of the carrier-pigeons to thee and I know how to rear the birds; and my husband was town-captain of Baghdad. Now I wish to have the reversion of my husband and my daughter wisheth to have that of her father." The Caliph granted both their requests and she said, "I ask of thee that I may be portress of thy Khan." Now he had built a Khan of three stories, for the merchants to lodge in, and had assigned to its service forty slaves and also forty dogs he had brought from the King of the Sulaymaniyah, when he deposed him; and there was in the Khan a cook-slave, who cooked for the chattels and fed the hounds for which he let make collars. Said the Caliph, "O Dalilah, I will write thee a patent of guardianship of the Khan, and if aught be lost therefrom, thou shalt be answerable for it. "'Tis well," replied she; "but do thou lodge my daughter in the pavilion over the door of the Khan, for it hath terraced roofs, and carrier-pigeons may not be reared to advantage save in an open space." The Caliph granted her this also and she and her daughter removed to the pavilion in question, where Zaynab hung up the one-and-forty dresses of Calamity Ahmad and his company. Moreover, they delivered to Dalilah the forty pigeons which carried the royal messages, and the Caliph appointed the Wily One mistress over the forty slaves and charged them to obey her. She made the place of her sitting behind the door of the Khan, and every day she used to go up to the Caliph's Divan, lest he should need to send a message by pigeon-post and stay there till eventide whilst the forty slaves stood on guard at the Khan; and when darkness came on they loosed the forty dogs that they might keep watch over the place by night. Such were the doings of Dalilah the Wily One in Baghdad and much like them were...
[Go to The Adventures of Mercury Ali of Cairo]
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