STORY OF HIS FIRST
"Know, 0 Prince of the Faithful, that the
first (who was named El-Bakbuk) was the lame one. He practiced the art of a
tailor in Baghdad, and used to sew in a shop which he hired of a man possessing
great wealth, who lived over the shop, and who had, in the lower part of his
house, a mill.
As my brother was sitting in his
shop one day, sewing, he raised his head, and saw a woman like the rising full
moon, at a projecting window of the house, looking at the people passing by; as
soon as he beheld the
radiant beauty of her face he became entangled with desire.
that day steeling gazes at the window wishing her to reappear while neglecting
his profession. The following morning he opened his shop, and
sat down to sew; but everytime that he sewed a stitch, he looked towards the
window; and in this state he continued, sewing nothing sufficient to earn a
piece of silver.
On the third day he seated himself again in his place,
looking towards the woman; and she saw him, and, perceiving that he had become
entangled with desire, laughed in his
face, and he, in like manner, laughed in her face.
She then disappeared
from before him, and sent to him her
slave girl, with a
wrapper containing a piece of red
flowered silk; and the
girl, coming to him, said to him, 'My mistress saluteth thee, and
desireth thee to cut out for her,
with the hand of skill, a
shirt of this piece, and to sew it beautifully.'
So he answered, 'I
hear and obey' and he cut out for
her the shirt, and finished the sewing of it on that day; and on the following
day the slave girl came
to him again, and said to him, 'My mistress saluteth thee, and saith to thee,
How didst thou pass last night? for she
tasted not sleep, from her
passion for thee.'
She then placed before him a piece of yellow satin,
and said to him, 'My mistress desireth thee to cut out for her, of
this piece, two pairs of trousers, and to make them this day.'
replied, 'I hear and obey. Salute
her with abundant salutations, and say to her, thy
slave is submissive to thine order, and
command him to do whatsoever thou
He then busied himself with the cutting out, and used all
diligence in sewing the two pairs of trousers; and presently the woman looked
out at him from the window, and saluted him by a sign, now casting down her
eyes, and now smiling in his face, so that he
imagined he should soon
obtain possession of her.
this, she disappeared from before him, and the
slave girl came to him;
so he delivered to her the two pairs of trousers, and she took them and
departed: and when the night came, he threw
himself upon his bed, and remained turning himself over in restlessness until
following day, the master of the house came to
my brother, bringing some linen, and said to him, 'Cut out and make this into
shirts for me.'
He replied, 'I hear and obey', and ceased not from
his work until he had cut out twenty shirts by the time of
nightfall, without having tasted food.
The man then said to him, 'How much is thy hire for this?', but my
brother answered not; and the woman made a sign to him that he should receive
nothing, though he was absolutely in want of a single copper
For three days he continued Now
the young woman had acquainted her husband with the state of my brother's mind,
but my brother knew not this; and she planned with her husband to employ him in
sewing without remuneration, and moreover to amuse themselves by laughing at
him: so, when he had finished all the work that they gave him, they contrived a
plot against him, and married him to
their slave girl; and on
the night when he desired to introduce
himself to her, they said to him, 'Pass this night in the mill, and tomorrow thou shalt
or drinking anything,
in his diligence to accomplish his work,
he had finished it, he went to deliver the shirts.
My brother, therefore, thinking that their intention
was good, passed the night in the mill
Meanwhile, the husband of the young woman went to the miller,
and instigated him by signs to make my brother turn the mill.
miller, accordingly, went in to him at midnight, and began to exclaim, 'Verily this
bull is lazy, while there is a great
quantity of wheat, and the
owners of the flour are demanding it: I will therefore
yoke him in the mill, that
he may finish the grinding of the flour', and so saying, he yoked my
brother, and thus he kept him until near
morning, then the owner of the
house came, and saw him yoked in the mill, and the miller flogging him with the
whip; and he left him, and retired.
After this, the
slave girl to whom he
had been contracted in marriage came to him early in the
morning, and, having unbound
him from the mill, said to him, 'Both I and my mistress have been
distressed by this
which hath befallen thee, and we have participated in the burden of thy
But he had no
tongue wherewith to answer her, by reason of the severity of the flogging.
He then returned to his house; and lo, the sheykh who was to seal the
marriage contract came and saluted him, saying, 'May God prolong thy life! May
thy marriage be blessed! May God not preserve the
brother: 'thou thousandfold villain! By Allah, I went only to turn the mill in
the place of the bull until the morning.'
'Tell me thy
story', said the sheykh, and my
brother told him what had happened to him: upon which the sheykh said, 'Thy
star agreeth not with hers: but if thou desire that I should change for thee
the mode of the contract, will change it for another better than it, that thy
star may agree with hers.'
'See then,' replied my brother, 'if thou
hast any other contrivance to employ.'
My brother then left him, and
repaired again to his shop, hoping that somebody might give him some work, with
the profit of which he might obtain his food; and lo, the
slave girl came to
She had conspired with her mistress to
play him this trick, and said to him,
'Verily, my mistress is longing for thee, and she hath gone up to look at thy
face from the window.'
And my brother had scarcely heard these words
when she looked out at him from the window, and, weeping, said, 'Wherefore hast
thou cut short the intercourse between us and thee?'
He returned her no
answer: so she swore to him that all that had happened to him in the mill was
not with her consent: and when my brother beheld her beauty and loveliness, the
troubles that had befallen him became effaced from his
memory, and he accepted her
excuse, and rejoiced at the sight of her.
He saluted her, therefore,
and conversed with her, and then sat a while at his work; after which the
slave girl came to him,
and said, 'My mistress saluteth thee, and informeth thee that her husband hath
determined to pass this next night in the
house of one of his intimate friends; wherefore, when he hath gone thither, do
thou come to her.'
Now the husband of the young woman had said to her,
'How shall we contrive when he cometh to thee that I may take him and drag him
before the Wali?'
She replied, 'Let me then
play him a trick, and involve him in a
disgrace for which he shall be paraded throughout this
city as an example
to others,' and my brother knew nothing of the craftiness of
Accordingly, at the approach of evening, the
slave girl came to him,
and, taking him by the hand, returned with him to her mistress, who said to
him, 'Verily, 0 my master, I have been longing
'Hasten then,' said he, 'to give me a kiss, first of all.'
His words were not finished when the young woman's husband came in from
his neighbor's house, and, seizing my brother, exclaimed to him, 'By
Allah, I will not loose
thee but in the presence of the chief magistrate of the police.'
brother humbled himself before him; but, without listening to him, he took him
to the house of the Wali, who flogged him with whips, and mounted him on a
camel, and conveyed him through the streets of the
city, the people
crying out, 'This is the recompense of him who breaketh into the harims of
others!' and he fell from the camel, and his leg broke: so he became lame.
The Wali then banished him from the
city; and he went
forth, not knowing whither to turn his steps: but I, though enraged, overtook
him, and brought him back; and I have taken upon myself to provide him with
meat and drink unto this present day."
THE STORY OF THE HUSBAND AND THE PARROT
There was a certain merchant, of an exceedingly
jealous disposition, having a
whole endowed with perfect beauty, who had prevented him from
leaving his home; but an event happened which obliged him to make a
journey; and when he found his
doing so to be indispensable, he went to the market in which birds were sold,
and bought a parrot, which he placed in his house to act as a spy, that, on his
return, she might inform him of what passed during his absence; for this parrot
was cunning and intelligent, and remembered whatever she heard.
So, when he had made his journey, and accomplished his
business, he returned, and caused the parrot to be brought to him, and asked
her regarding the conduct of his wife.
She answered, 'Thy whole has a
lover, who visited her every night during
thy absence,' and when the man heard this, he fell into a violent
rage, and went to his whole, and
gave her a severe beating.
The woman imagined that one of the female
slaves had informed him
of what had passed between her and her paramour during his absence: she
therefore called them together, and made them swear; and they all swore that
they had not told their master anything of the
matter; but confessed that they had heard the parrot relate to him what
Having thus established, on the testimony of the
slaves, the fact of the
parrot's having informed her husband of her intrigue, she ordered one of these
slaves to grind with a
hand mill under the cage, another to sprinkle
water from above, and a third to move
a mirror from side to side,
l#darkness">night on which her husband was absent.
On the following
morning, when the man returned
from an entertainment at which
he had been present, and inquired again of the parrot what had passed that
night during his absence, the bird
answered, '0 my master,
I could neither see nor hear
anything, on account of the excessive darkness, and thunder, and lightning, and
Now this happened during summer: so he said to her, 'What
strange words are these? It is now summer, when nothing of what thou hast
described ever happens.'
The parrot, however, swore by
Allah that what she had said was true; and
that it had so happened: upon which the man, not understanding the case, nor
knowing the plot, became violently
enraged, and took out the bird from the cage, and threw her down upon the
ground with such violence that he killed her.
After some days, one of
his female slaves
informed him of the truth; yet he would not believe it, until he saw his wife's
paramour going out from his house; when he drew his sword, and slew the traitor
by a blow on the back of his neck: so also did he to his treacherous whole; and
thus both of them went, laden with the sin which they had committed, to the
fire; and the merchant discovered that the parrot had informed him truly of
what she had seen; and he mourned grievously for her loss.
-tales from a The Thousand and One
Nights, Persian origin, re-written in
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Aladdin was a street urchin whose
lazy ways were the death of his father and the despair of his mother. One day
an evil magician gave him
a magic ring and attempted to deceive him into retrieving a magical lamp,
but Aladdin foiled his trick, saved his own skin, and emerged with the lamp to
boot, along with some jewels which he initially thought were fruit. When his
mother polished the lamp, a genie emerged. Aladdin asked him for food, which
the genie delivered instantly on silver plates. Used to living from hand to
mouth, Aladdin sold the plates one by one as they needed money, and thus they
lived for several years.
One day Aladdin caught a glimpse of the
princess and set his mother to ask for her hand. She took some of the
jewel-fruits with her, and when the sultan saw them all a-glitter, he was
inclined to agree, but his vizier, who wanted to give his own son a chance to
compete, suggested a delay. The king told Aladdin's mother to come back in
three months, but then, two months later, an announcement was made of the
princess's marriage to the vizier's son. Thereupon, Aladdin called upon his
genie to whisk away the wedding bed--bride, groom and all. The genie did that
for three nights, returning it each morning, and the frightful trips convinced
the groom to relinquish his hold on the princess.
The sultan demanded a
high price which Aladdin was able to deliver with help from the genie, who
carried him to court amidst great riches and built a grand house for the
princess. Aladdin prospered, but--alas!-- his elaborate display caught the
attention of the evil magician again.
While Aladdin was away from home,
the magician disguised himself and walked by Aladdin's
palace calling, "New lamps for old,"
and the princess willingly traded away Aladdin's old lamp. That night the
magician used it to carry the palace,
princess and all to Africa. Next day Aladdin was taken to the sultan and told
to find the princess or lose his head. After three days of searching, he
accidentally rubbed his magic ring, calling a
genie who took him to Africa to the hideaway.
Together they devised a
plot to poison the magician, then they stole back the lamp and returned home,
where her father celebrated their return with feasting for ten days.
Unfortunately that happy ending was not to be.
brother was more wicked than he! He went to China, killed a pious woman,
Fatima, and disguised himself in her attire. He went to the
palace where the people greeted him
like Fatima, begging to be healed. The princess saw all this and sent for
Fatima to come and cure her own ailments. It was then that the false Fatima
told her that her beautiful palace
lacked for one thing: a roc's egg hanging from the dome. When she asked Aladdin
for one, he rubbed his lamp. The genie emerged, but called Aladdin a wretch for
requesting his "master" be hanged in the midst of the
palace, noting that such a request
must have been a trick by the magician's evil brother. He then told Aladdin the
brother was disguised as a holy woman, so Aladdin asked that Fatima be called
to ease his headache, and when "she" arrived, he
pierced her heart with his dagger.
After this, Aladdin and the princess lived in happiness to the end of
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