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Payne: The Lover's Trick Against the Chaste Wife

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A certain man loved a beautiful and graceful woman, married to a man whom she loved and who loved her. Moreover, she was chaste and virtuous, like unto me, and her lover found no way to her; so, when his patience was at an end, he bethought him of a device to get his will. Now the husband had a young man, whom he had brought up in his house and who was in high trust with him. So the lover addressed himself to the youth and insinuated himself into his favour by presents and fair words, till he became more obedient to him than the hand to the mouth and did whatever he bade him. One day, he said to him, "Harkye, such an one; wilt thou not bring me into thy dwelling some time when thy lady is gone out?" "Yes," answered the steward; so, when his master was at the shop and his mistress gone forth to the bath, he took his friend and bringing him into the house, showed him all that was therein.

Now the lover was minded to play a trick upon the lady; so he took white of egg, that he had brought with him in a vessel, and sprinkled it on the merchant's bed, unseen of the young man, after which he left the house and went his way. Presently, the merchant came home and going to the bed, to rest himself, found thereon something wet. So he took it up in his hand and looked at it and deemed it human sperm; whereat he looked at the young man with angry eyes and said to him, "Where is thy mistress?" "She is gone forth to the bath and will return forthright," replied he. When the man heard this, his suspicion was confirmed and he said, "Go and bring her back at once." The steward accordingly fetched her and when she came before her husband, the latter sprang upon her and beat her grievously, then, binding her hands behind her, offered to kill her; but she cried out to the neighbours, who came to her, and she said to them, "My husband has beaten me without cause and is minded to kill me, though I know not what I have done." So they said to him, "Why hast thou dealt thus by her?" And he answered, saying, "She is divorced." Said they, "Thou hast no right to maltreat her; either divorce her or use her kindly, for we know her chastity. Indeed, she hath been our neighbour this long time and we know no evil of her." Quoth he, "When I came home, I found on my bed human sperm, and I know not the meaning of this." Upon this, one of those present came forward and said, "Show it to me." When he saw it, he smelt it and calling for fire and a frying-pan, fried the white of egg. Then he made the husband and the others taste of it, and they were certified that it was white of egg. So the husband was convinced of his wife's innocence and the neighbours made peace between them; and so the lover's wicked trick came to nought. And know, O King, that this is an instance of the malice of men and their perfidy.'

When the King heard this, he bade put his son to death; but the second vizier came forward and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O King, hasten not to slay thy son, tor he was not vouchsafed to his mother but after she had despaired, and we trust that he will live to become a treasure to thy realm and a guardian of thy good. Wherefore, have patience, O King; belike he will speak and excuse himself; and if thou make haste to slay him, thou wilt surely repent, even as the merchant repented.' Quoth the King, 'And how was it with the merchant, O vizier?' 'O King,' answered the vizier, 'I have heard that...

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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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