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Payne: The Vizier's Son and the Bathkeeper's Wife

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There was once a bathkeeper, to whom resorted the notables and chiefs of the folk, and one day there came in to him a handsome young man of the sons of the viziers, who was fat and stout of body. So he stood to serve him and when the young man put off his clothes, he saw not his yard, for that it was hidden between his thighs, by reason of the excess of his fat, and there appeared thereof but what was like unto a filbert. At this, the bathkeeper fell a-lamenting and smiting hand upon hand, which when the youth saw, he said to him, "O bathkeeper, what ails thee to lament thus?" And he answered, saying, "O my lord, my lamentation is for thee, because thou art in sore straits, for all thy fair fortune and goodliness and exceeding grace, seeing thou hast nought wherewithal to do delight, like unto other men." Quoth the young man, "Thou sayst sooth, but thou mindest me of somewhat I had forgotten." "What is that?" asked the bathkeeper, and the youth said, "Take this dinar and fetch me a handsome woman, that I may prove myself on her." So he took the money and betaking himself to his wife, said to her, "O woman, there is come in to me in the bath a young man of the sons of the viziers, as he were the moon on the night of her full; but he hath no yard like other men, for that which he hath is but some small matter like unto a filbert. I lamented over his youth and he gave me this dinar and begged me to fetch him a woman, on whom he might approve himself. Now thou art worthier of the money than another, and no harm shall betide us from this, for I will protect thee. So do thou sit with him awhile and laugh at him and take this dinar from him." So she took the dinar and rising, adorned herself and donned the richest of her clothes. (Now she was the fairest woman of her time.) Then she went out with her husband, and he carried her in to the young man in a privy place. When she came in to him, she looked at him and finding him a handsome youth, fair of favour, as he were the moon at its full, was confounded at his beauty and grace; and on like wise his heart and wit were amazed at sight of her. So he rose forthright and locking the door, took the damsel in his arms and pressed her to his bosom and they embraced, whereupon the young man's yard rose on end, as it were that of an ass, and he mounted her breast and swived her, whilst she sobbed and sighed and writhed and wriggled under him. Now the bathkeeper was standing behind the door, awaiting what should betide between them, and he began to call her, saying, "O Umm Abdal-lah, enough! Come out, for the day is long upon thy sucking child." Quoth the youth, "Go forth to thy child and come back;" but she said, "If I go forth from thee, my soul will depart my body; so I must either leave the child to die of weeping or let him be reared an orphan, without a mother." So she ceased not to abide with him, till he had done his desire of her half a score times, what while her husband stood at the door, calling her and crying out and weeping and imploring succour. But none came to him and he ceased not to do thus, saying, "I will kill myself!" till at last, finding no way of access to his wife and being distraught with rage and jealousy he went up to the top of the bath and casting himself down therefrom, died.

Moreover, O King,' continued the Vizier, 'there hath reached me another story of the malice of women.' 'What is that?' asked the King, and the Vizier said, 'Know, O King, that...

[Go to The Wife's Device to Cheat Her Husband]


Payne, John (1842-1916). The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. London. 1901. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version. Wollamshram Vol. V. Wollamshram Vol. VI. Wollamshram Vol. VII. Wollamshram Vol. VIII. Wollamshram Vol. IX. Please consult the Wollamshram 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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