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Burton: The Lady and Her Two Lovers

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Once upon a time there was a man, who was sword-bearer to one of the Kings, and he loved a damsel of the common sort. One day, he sent his page to her with a message, as of wont between them, and the lad sat down with her and toyed with her. She inclined to him and pressed him to her breast and groped him and kissed him whereupon he sought carnal connection of her and she consented; but, as the two were thus, lo! the youth's master knocked at the door. So she pushed the page through a trapdoor into an underground chamber there and opened the door to his lord, who entered hending sword in hand and sat down upon her bed. Then she came up to him and sported and toyed with him, kissing him and pressing him to her bosom, and he took her and lay with her. Presently, her husband knocked at the door and the gallant asked her, "Who is that?"; whereto she answered, "My husband." Quoth he, "How shall I do?" Quoth she, "Draw thy sword and stand in the vestibule and abuse me and revile me; and when my husband comes in to thee, do thou go forth and wend thy ways." He did as she bade him; and, when the husband entered, he saw the King's sword-bearer standing with naked brand in hand, abusing and threatening his wife; but, when the lover saw him, he was ashamed and sheathing his scymitar, went forth the house. Said the man to his wife, "What means this?"; and she replied, "O man, how blessed is the hour of thy coming! Thou hast saved a True Believer from slaughter, and it happed after this fashion. I was on the house-terrace, spinning, when behold, there came up to me a youth, distracted and panting for fear of death, fleeing from yonder man, who followed upon him as hard as he could with his drawn sword. The young man fell down before me, and kissed my hands and feet, saying, "O Protector, of thy mercy, save me from him who would slay me wrongously!" So I hid him in that underground chamber of ours and presently in came yonder man to me, naked brand in hand, demanding the youth. But I denied him to him, whereupon he fell to abusing and threatening me as thou sawest. And praised be Allah who sent thee to me, for I was distraught and had none to deliver me!" "Well hast thou done, O woman!" answered the husband. "Thy reward is with Allah the Almighty, and may He abundantly requite thy good deed!" Then he went to the trap door and called to the page, saying, "Come forth and fear not; no harm shall befal thee." So he came out, trembling for fear, and the husband said, "Be of good cheer: none shall I hurt thee;" condoling with him on what had befallen him; whilst the page called down blessings on his head. Then they both went forth, nor was that Cornuto nor was the page aware of that which the woman had contrived. "This, then, O King," said the Wazir, "is one of the tricks of women; so beware lest thou rely upon their I words." The King was persuaded and turned from putting his son to death; but, on the third day, the favourite came in to him I and, kissing the ground before him, cried, "O King, do me justice on thy son and be not turned from thy purpose by thy Ministers' prate, for there is no good in wicked Wazirs, and be not as the King of Baghdad, who relied on the word of a certain wicked counsellor of his." Quoth he, "And how was that?" Quoth she, "There hath been told me, O auspicious and well-advised King, a tale of...

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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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