[Go back to The Devout Platter-Maker and His Wife]
It is told that El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth Thekefi had been long in pursuit of a certain man of the notables, and when he [was at last taken and] came before him, he said to him, 'O enemy of God, He hath given thee into my hand.' Then he bade his men hale him to prison and said to them, 'Lay him in strait and heavy fetters and build a cage over him, that he may not come forth of it nor any go in to him.' So they bore him to prison and summoned the blacksmith, who came and laid him in irons. Every time the smith gave a stroke with his hammer, the prisoner raised his eyes to heaven and said, 'Verily, to Him belong creation and commandment!' Then they built the cage over him and left him therein, deserted and lonely, whereupon longing and consternation entered into him and the tongue of his case recited Wish of the wistful, unto Thee my wishes tend; My trust is in Thy grace, that all doth comprehend.
My case from Thee unhidden is; a look from Thee Is all the goal of my desires, my wishes' end.
They've prisoned me and tried me sore with many a woe: Woe's me, my strangerhood forlorn, without a friend!
Lone as I am, the thought of Thee my solace is And cheer, though slumber from mine eyes my woes forfend.
Ay, an Thou but accept of me, I reck not, I; What in my heart Thou seest of Thee right well is kenned.
At nightfall, the gaoler left his men to watch him and went to his house. On the morrow, when he repaired to the prison, he found the prisoner gone and the fetters lying on the ground; whereat he was affrighted and made sure of death. So he returned to his house and bade his family farewell, after which he took his shroud and the perfumes for his corpse, in his sleeve, and went in to El Hejjaj. The latter smelt the perfumes and said, 'What is that?' 'O my lord,' replied the gaoler, 'it is I who have brought it.' 'And what moved thee to that?' asked the governor; whereupon he told him his case, and El Hejjaj said, 'Out on thee! Didst thou hear him say aught?' 'Yes,' answered the gaoler. 'Whilst the blacksmith was riveting his irons, he ceased not to look up to heaven and say, "Verily to Him belong creation and commandment."' 'Woe to thee!' rejoined El Hejjaj. 'Dost thou not know that He, on whom he called in thy presence, delivered him in thine absence?' And the tongue of the case recited the following verses on the subject:O Lord, how many a trouble Thou away from me hast done! Yea, but for Thee I should nor sit nor stand beneath the sun.
[Go to The Blacksmith Who Could Handle Fire Without Hurt]
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