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Burton: The Three Wishes, or the Man Who Longed to see the Night of Power

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A certain man had longed all his life to look upon the Night of Power, and one night it befel that he gazed at the sky and saw the angels, and Heaven's gates thrown open; and he beheld all things prostrating themselves before their Lord, each in its several stead. So he said to his wife, "Harkye, such an one, verily Allah hath shown me the Night of Power, and it hath been proclaimed to me, from the invisible world, that three prayers will be granted unto me; so I consult thee for counsel as to what shall I ask." Quoth she, "O man, the perfection of man and his delight is in his prickle; therefore do thou pray Allah to greaten thy yard and magnify it." So he lifted up his hands to heaven and said, "O Allah, greaten my yard and magnify it." Hardly had he spoken when his tool became as big as a column and he could neither sit nor stand nor move about nor even stir from his stead; and when he would have carnally known his wife, she fled before him from place to place. So he said to her, "O accursed woman, what is to be done? This is thy list, by reason of thy lust." She replied, "No, by Allah, I did not ask for this length and huge bulk, for which the gate of a street were too strait. Pray Heaven to make it less." So he raised his eyes to Heaven and said, "O Allah, rid me of this thing and deliver me therefrom." And immediately his prickle disappeared altogether and he became clean smooth. When his wife saw this, she said, "I have no occasion for thee, now thou are become pegless as a eunuch, shaven and shorn;" and he answered her, saying, "All this comes of thine ill-omened counsel and thine imbecile judgment. I had three prayers accepted of Allah, wherewith I might have gotten me my good, both in this world and in the next, and now two wishes are gone in pure waste, by thy lewd will, and there remaineth but one." Quoth she, "Pray Allah the Most High to restore thee thy yard as it was." So he prayed to his Lord and his prickle was restored to its first estate. Thus the man lost his three wishes by the ill counsel and lack of wit in the woman; "And this, O King" (said the Wazir), "have I told thee, that thou mightest be certified of the thoughtlessness of women and their inconsequence and silliness and see what cometh of hearkening to their counsel. Wherefore be not persuaded by them to slay thy son, thy heart's core, who shall cause thy remembrance to survive thee." The King gave ear to his Minister's words and forbore to put his son to death; but, on the seventh day, the damsel came in, shrieking, and after lighting a great fire in the King's presence, made as she would cast herself therein; whereupon they laid hands on her and brought her before him. He asked her, "Why hast thou done this?"; and she answered, "Except thou do me justice on thy son, I will cast myself into this very fire and accuse thee of this on the Day of Resurrection, for I am a-weary of my life, and before coming into thy presence I wrote my last will and testament and gave alms of my goods and resolved upon death. And thou wilt repent with all repentance, even as did the King of having punished the pious woman who kept the Hammam." Quoth the King, "How was that?" and quoth she, "I have heard tell, O King, this tale concerning...

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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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