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Payne: The Woman Who Made Her Husband Sift Dust

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A man once gave his wife a dirhem to buy rice; so she went to the rice-seller, who gave her the rice and began to jest with her and ogle her, for she was fair and graceful, saying, "Rice is not good but with sugar, which if thou wilt have, come in with me awhile." So she went in with him into his shop and he did his will of her and said to his slave, "Weigh her out a dirhem's worth of sugar." But he made the slave a privy sign, and the latter, taking the napkin, in which was the rice, emptied it out and put in its place earth, and for the sugar stones, after which he knotted the napkin up again and left it by her. Now the man's object, in doing this, was that she should come to him a second time; so, when she went forth of the shop, he gave her the napkin and she took it, thinking to have in it rice and sugar, and went her way; but when she returned home and set it before her husband, he found in it earth and stones. So, when she came back with the cooking-pot, he said to her, "Did I tell thee that I had aught to build, that thou bringest me earth and stones? When she saw this, she knew that the rice-seller's slave had tricked her; so she said to her husband, "O man, in my trouble of mind for what hath befallen me, I went to fetch the sieve and brought the cooking-pot." "What hath troubled thee?" asked he; and she said, "I dropped the dirhem thou gayest me in the market and was ashamed to search for it before the folk; yet I grudged to lose the money, so I gathered up the earth from the place where it fell and brought it away, thinking to sift it [when I came home]. Wherefore I went to fetch the sieve, but brought the cooking-pot instead." Then she fetched the sieve and gave it to her husband, saying, "Do thou sift it; for thine eyes are better than mine." So he sat, sifting the earth, till his face and beard were covered with dust; and he discovered not her trick, neither knew what had befallen her. This then, O King, 'said the Vizier, 'is an instance of the malice of women, and consider the saying of God the Most High, "Verily, the malice of you [women] is great!" And again, "Indeed, the malice of Satan is weak [in comparison with that of women]."'

The King gave ear to his Vizier's speech and was persuaded thereby and by what he cited to him of the sayings of God and the lights of good counsel arose and shone in the firmament of his understanding and he turned from his purpose of putting his son to death. But, on the fourth day, the favourite came in to him and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O august King and lord of good counsel, I have made plainly manifest to thee my grievance and thou bast dealt unjustly by me and hast forborne to avenge me on him who hath wronged me, for that he is thy son and the darling of thy heart; but God (blessed and exalted be He!) will succour me against him, even as he succoured the king's son against his father's vizier.' 'And 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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