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Scott: The Story of Wry-mouthed Schoolmaster

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I also, O sultan, was a schoolmaster; and so strict with my pupils, that I allowed them no indulgence, but even kept them to their studies frequently after the usual hours. At length, one more cunning than the rest resolved, in revenge, to play me a trick. He instructed the lads as they came into school to say to me, "Dear master, how pale you look!" Not feeling myself ill, I, though surprised at their remarks, did not much regard them on the first day; but a second, and so on to a fifth passing, on each of which all the pupils on entrance uttered the same exclamation, I began to think some fatal disorder had seized me, and resolved, by way of prevention, to take physic. I did so the following morning, and remained in my wife's apartments; upon which the unlucky lads, clubbing their pittances together to the amount of about a hundred faloose, requested my acceptance of the money as an offering for my recovery; and I was so pleased with the present that I gave them a holiday. The receipt of cash in so easy a manner was so agreeable to me, that I feigned illness for some days; my pupils made an offering as usual, and were allowed to play. On the tenth day the cunning urchin who had planned the scheme came into my chamber, as customary, with an offering of faloose. I happened then to have before me a boiled egg, which, upon seeing him enter, I clapped into my mouth, supposing, that if he perceived me well enough to eat he might not give me the money. He, however, observed the trick, and coming up to me with affected condolence, exclaimed, "Dear master, how your cheeks are swelled!" at the same time pressing his hands upon my face. The egg was boiling hot, and gave me intolerable pain, while the young wit pretended compassionately to stroke my visage. At length, he pressed my jaws together so hard that the egg broke, when the scalding yolk ran down my throat, and over my beard: upon which the artful lad cried out in seeming joy, "God be praised, my dear master, that the dreadful imposthume has discharged itself; we, your pupils, will all return thanks for your happy recovery." My mouth was contracted by the scald in the manner you behold, and I became so ridiculed for my folly, that I was obliged to shut up my school.

[Resume The Story of the Retired Sage and His Pupil, Related to the Sultan by the Second Lunatic]

Scott, Jonathan (1754-1829). The Arabian Nights Entertainments. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1890. 4 Volumes. Project Gutenberg.

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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