[Go back to The Barber's Tale of his Second Brother]
My third brother's name was Al-Fakik, the Gabbler, who was blind. One day Fate and Fortune drove him to a fine large house, and he knocked at the door, desiring speech of its owner that he might beg somewhat of him. Quoth the master of the house, "Who is at the door?" But my brother spake not a word and presently he heard him repeat with a loud voice, "Who is this?" Still he made no answer and immediately heard the master walk to the door and open it and say, "What dost thou want?" My brother answered "Something for Allah Almighty's sake." "Art thou blind?" asked the man, and my brother answered "Yes." Quoth the other, "Stretch me out thy hand." So my brother put out his hand thinking that he would give him something; but he took it and, drawing him into the house, carried him up from stair to stair till they reached the terrace on the house top, my brother thinking the while that he would surely give him something of food or money. Then he asked my brother, "What dost thou want, O blind man?" and he answered, "Something for the Almighty's sake." "Allah open for thee some other door!" "O thou! why not say so when I was below stairs?" "O cadger, why not answer me when I first called to thee?" "And what meanest thou to do for me now?" "There is nothing in the house to give thee." "Then take me down the stair." "The path is before thee." So my brother rose and made his way downstairs, till he came within twenty steps of the door, when his foot slipped and he rolled to the bottom and broke his head. Then he went out, unknowing whither to turn, and presently fell in with two other blind men, companions of his, who said to him, "What didst thou gain to day?" He told them what had befallen him and added, "O my brothers, I wish to take some of the money in my hands and provide myself with it." Now the master of the house had followed him and was listening to what they said; but neither my brother nor his comrades knew of this. So my brother went to his lodging and sat down to await his companions, and the house owner entered after him without being perceived. When the other blind men arrived, my brother said to them, "Bolt the door and search the house lest any stranger have followed us." The man, hearing this, caught hold of a cord that hung from the ceiling and clung to it, whilst they went round about the house and searched but found no one. So they came back, and, sitting beside my brother, brought out their money which they counted and lo! it was twelve thousand dirhams. Each took what he wanted and they buried the rest in a corner of the room. Then they set on food and sat down, to eat. Presently my brother, hearing a strange pair of jaws munching by his side, said to his friends, "There is a stranger amongst us;" and, putting forth his hand, caught hold of that of the house master. Thereupon all fell on him and beat him; and when tired of belabouring him they shouted, "O ye Moslems! a thief is come in to us, seeking to take our money!" A crowd gathered around them, whereupon the intruder hung on to them; and complained with them as they complained, and, shutting his eyes like them, so that none might doubt his blindness, cried out, "O Moslems, I take refuge with Allah and the Governor, for I have a matter to make known to him!" Suddenly up came the watch and, laying hands on the whole lot (my brother being amongst them), drove them to the Governor's who set them before him and asked, "What news with you?" Quoth the intruder, "Look and find out for thyself, not a word shall be wrung from us save by torture, so begin by beating me and after me beat this man our leader." And he pointed to my brother. So they threw the man at full length and gave him four hundred sticks on his backside. The beating pained him, whereupon he opened one eye and, as they redoubled their blows, he opened the other eye. When the Governor saw this be said to him, "What have we here, O accursed?"; whereto he replied, "Give me the seal-ring of pardon! We four have shammed blind, and we impose upon people that we may enter houses and look upon the unveiled faces of the women and contrive for their corruption. In this way we have gotten great gain and our store amounts to twelve thousand dirhams. Said I to my company, 'Give me my share, three thousand;' but they rose and beat me and took away my money, and I seek refuge with Allah and with thee; better thou have my share than they. So, if thou wouldst know the truth of my words, beat one and every of the others more than thou hast beaten me, and he will surely open his eyes." The Governor gave orders for the question to begin with my brother, and they bound him to the whipping post, and the Governor said, "O scum of the earth, do ye abuse the gracious gifts of Allah and make as if ye were blind!" "Allah! Allah!" cried my brother, "by Allah, there is none among us who can see." Then they beat him till he swooned away and the Governor cried, "Leave him till he come to and then beat him again." After this he caused each of the companions to receive more than three hundred sticks, whilst the sham Abraham kept saying to them "Open your eyes or you will be beaten afresh." At last the man said to the Governor, "Dispatch some one with me to bring thee the money; for these fellows will not open their eyes, lest they incur disgrace before the folk." So the Governor sent to fetch the money and gave the man his pretended share, three thousand dirhams; and, keeping the rest for himself, banished the three blind men from the city. But I, O Commander of the Faithful, went out and overtaking my brother questioned him of his case; whereupon he told me of what I have told thee; so I brought him secretly into the city, and appointed him (in the strictest privacy) an allowance for meat and drink! The Caliph laughed at my story and said, "Give him a gift and let him go;" but I said, "By Allah! I will take naught till I have made known to the Commander of the Faithful what came to pass with the rest of my brothers; for truly I am a man of few words and spare of speech." Then the Caliph gave ear to...
[Go to The Barber's Tale of his Fourth Brother]
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