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Payne: The Third Old Man's Story

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This mule was my wife. Some time ago, I had occasion to travel and was absent from her a whole year; at the end of which time I returned home by night and found my wife in bed with a black slave, talking and laughing and toying and kissing and dallying. When she saw me, she made haste and took a mug of water and muttered over it; then came up to me and sprinkled me with the water, saying, "Leave this form for that of a dog!" And immediately I became a dog. She drove me from the house, and I went out of the door and ceased not running till I came to a butcher's shop, where I stopped and began to eat the bones. The butcher took me and carried me into his house; but when his daughter saw me, she veiled her face and said to her father, "How is it that thou bringest a man in to me?" "Where is the man?" asked he; and she replied, "This dog is a man, whose wife has enchanted him, and I can release him." When her father heard this, he said, "I conjure thee by Allah, O my daughter, release him!" So she took a mug of water and muttered over it, then sprinkled a little of it on me, saying, "Leave this shape and return to thy former one." And immediately I became a man again and kissed her hand and begged her to enchant my wife as she had enchanted me. So she gave me a little of the water and said to me, "When thou seest her asleep, sprinkle her with this water and repeat the words thou hast heard me use, naming the shape thou wouldst have her take, and she will become whatever thou wishest." So I took the water and returned home and went in to my wife. I found her asleep and sprinkled the water upon her, saying, "Quit this form for that of a mule." And she at once became a mule; and this is she whom thou seest before thee, O Sultan and Chief of the Kings of the Jinn!' Then he said to the mule, 'Is it true?' And she nodded her head and made signs as who should say, 'Yes, indeed: this is my history and what befell me.'" Here Shehrzad perceived the day and was silent. And Dunyazad said to her, "O my sister, what a delightful story is this of thine!" "This is nothing," answered Shehrzad, "to what I will tell thee to-morrow night, if the King let me live." Quoth the King to himself, "By Allah, I will not put her to death till I hear the rest of her story, for it is wonderful." And they lay together till the morning. Then the King rose and betook himself to his audience-chamber, and the Vizier and the troops presented themselves and the Court was full. The King judged and appointed and deposed and ordered and forbade till the end of the day, when the Divan broke up and he returned to his apartments.

And when it was the third night and the King had taken his will of the Vizier's daughter, Dunyazad said to her sister, "O my sister, finish us thy story." "With all my heart," answered Shehrzad. "Know, O august King, that when the genie heard the third old man's story, he marvelled exceedingly and shook with delight and said, 'I remit to thee the remainder of his crime.' Then he released the merchant, who went up to the three old men and thanked them; and they gave him joy of his escape and returned, each to his own country. Nor is this more wonderful than the story of the Fisherman and the Genie." "What is that?" asked the King: and she said, "I have heard tell, O august King, 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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