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Payne: The Man Who Saw the Night of Power

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A certain man had longed all his life to look upon the Night of Power, and it befell that, one night, he looked up at the sky and saw the angels and Heaven's gates opened and beheld all things in the act of prostration before their Lord, each in its several room. So he said to his wife, "Harkye, such an one, God 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 do thou counsel me what I shall ask." Quoth she, "O man, the perfection of man and his delight is in his yard; so do thou pray God to greaten thy yard and magnify it." So he lifted up his hands to heaven and said, "O my God, greaten my yard and magnify it." Hardly had he spoken when his yard became as big as a calabash and he could neither sit nor stand nor move; and when he would have lain with 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 wish, by reason of thy lust." "Nay, by Allah," answered she; "I did not ask for this huge bulk, for which the gate of a street were too strait. Pray God to make it less." So he raised his eyes to heaven and said, "O my God, rid me of this thing and deliver me therefrom." And immediately his yard disappeared altogether and he became smooth [like a woman]. When his wife saw this, she said, 'I have no occasion for thee, now thou art become yardless;" and he answered her, saying, "All this comes of thine own ill-omened counsel and the infirmity of thy judgment. I had three prayers accepted of God, wherewith I might have gotten me my good, both in this world and the next, and now two are gone in pure waste, by thy lewd wish, and there remaineth but one." Quoth she, "Pray God the Most High to restore thee thy yard as it was." So he prayed to his Lord and his yard was restored to its first case. Thus the man lost his three wishes by the ill counsel and lack of sense of the woman; and this, O King,' said the vizier, 'have I told thee, that thou mightest be certified of the thoughtlessness of women and their little wit and silliness and see what comes of hearkening to their counsel. Wherefore be not persuaded by them to slay thy son, the darling of thy heart, and thus blot out thy remembrance after thee.'

The King gave ear to his vizier's words and forbore to put his son to death; but, on the seventh day, the damsel came in, shrieking, and 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. Quoth he, 'Why hast thou done this?' And she answered, saying, 'Except thou do me justice on thy son, I will cast myself into the fire and accuse thee of this on the Day of Resurrection, for I am weary of life and before coming hither, I wrote my last dispositions 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.' 'How was that?' asked the King. 'I have heard tell, O King,' replied she, '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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