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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 50/272 -
After Buddir ad Deen Houssun had confidently affirmed all that he said to be true, he rose up to go into the town, and every one who followed him called out, "A madman, a fool." Upon this some looked out at their windows, some came to their doors, and others joined with those that were about him, calling out as they did, "A madman;" but not knowing for what. In this perplexity the affrighted young man happened to come before a pastry-cook's shop, and went into it to avoid the rabble.
This pastry-cook had formerly been captain to a troop of Arabian robbers, who plundered the caravans; and though he was become a citizen of Damascus, where he behaved himself to every one's satisfaction, yet he was dreaded by all who knew him; wherefore, as soon as he came out to the rabble who followed Buddir ad Deen, they dispersed.
The pastry-cook asked him who he was, and what brought him thither. Buddir ad Deen told him all, not concealing his birth, nor the death of his father the grand vizier. He afterwards gave him an account why he had left Bussorah; how, after he had fallen asleep the night following upon his father's tomb, he found himself when he awoke at Cairo, where he had married a lady; and at last, in what amazement he was, when he found himself at Damascus, without being able to penetrate into all those wonderful adventures.
"Your history is one of the most surprising," said the pastry- cook; "but if you will follow my advice, you will let no man know those matters you have revealed to me, but patiently wait till heaven thinks fit to put an end to your misfortunes. You shall be welcome to stay with me till then; and as I have no children, I will own you for my son, if you consent; after you are so adopted, you may freely walk the city, without being exposed any more to the insults of the rabble."
Though this adoption was below the son of a grand vizier, Buddir ad Deen was glad to accept of the pastry-cook's proposal, judging it the best thing he could do, considering his circumstances. The cook clothed him, called for witnesses, and went before a notary, where he acknowledged him for his son. After this, Buddir ad Deen lived with him under the name of Houssun, and learned the pastry- trade.
While this passed at Damascus, the daughter of Shumse ad Deen awoke, and finding Buddir ad Deen gone, supposed he had risen softly for fear of disturbing her, but would soon return. As she was in expectation of him, her father the vizier. (who was vexed at the affront put upon him by the sultan) came and knocked at her chamber-door, to bewail her sad destiny. He called her by her name, and she knowing him by his voice, immediately got up, and opened the door. She kissed his hand, and received him with so much pleasure in her countenance, that she surprised the vizier. who expected to find her drowned in tears, and as much grieved as himself. "Unhappy wretch!" said he in a passion, "do you appear before me thus? after the hideous sacrifice you have just consummated, can you see me with so much satisfaction?"
The new bride seeing her father angry at her pleasant countenance, said to him, "For God's sake, sir, do not reproach me wrongfully; it is not the hump-back fellow, whom I abhor more than death, it is not that monster I have married. Every body laughed him to scorn, and put him so out of countenance, that he was forced to run away and hide himself, to make room for a noble youth, who is my real husband." "What fable do you tell me?" said Shumse ad Deen, roughly. "What! Did not crook-back lie with you tonight?" "No, sir," said she, "it was the youth I mentioned, who has large eyes and black eyebrows." At these words the vizier. lost all patience, and exclaimed in anger, "Ah, wicked woman! you will make me distracted!" "It is you, father," said she, "that put me out of my senses by your incredulity." "So, it is not true," replied the vizier, "that hump-back----" "Let us talk no more of hump-back," said she, "a curse upon hump-back. Father, I assure you once more, that I did not bed with him, but with my dear spouse, who, I believe, is not far off."
Shumse ad Deen went out to seek him, but, instead of seeing Buddir ad Deen, was surprised to find hump-back with his head on the ground, and his heels uppermost, as the genie had set him against the wall. "What is the meaning of this?" said he; "who placed you thus?" Crookback, knowing it to be the vizier. answered, "Alas! alas! it is you then that would marry me to the mistress of a genie in the form of a buffalo."
Shumse ad Deen Mabummud, when he heard hump-back speak thus, thought he was raving, bade him move, and stand upon his legs. "I will take care how I stir," said hump-back, "unless the sun be risen. Know, sir, that when I came last night to your palace, suddenly a black cat appeared to me, and in an instant grew as big as a buffalo. I have not forgotten what he enjoined me, therefore you may depart, and leave me here." The vizier. instead of going away, took him by the heels, and made him stand up, when hump-back ran off, without looking behind him; and coming to the palace presented himself to the sultan, who laughed heartily when informed how the genie had served him.
Shumse ad Deen returned to his daughter's chamber, more astonished than before. "My abused daughter," said he, "can you give me no farther light in this miraculous affair?" "Sir," replied she, "I can give you no other account than I have done already. Here are my husband's clothes, which he put off last night; perhaps you may find something among them that may solve your doubt." She then shewed him Buddir ad Deen's turban, which he examined narrowly on all sides, saying, "I should take this to be a vizier's turban, if it were not made after the Bussorah fashion." But perceiving something to be sewed between the stuff and the lining, he called for scissors, and having unripped it, found the paper which Noor ad Deen Ali had given to his son upon his deathbed, and which Buddir ad Deen Houssun had sewn in his turban for security.
Shumse ad Deen having opened the paper, knew his brother's hand, and found this superscription, "For my son Buddir ad Deen Houssun." Before he could make any reflections upon it, his daughter delivered him the bag, that lay under the garments, which he likewise opened, and found it full of sequins: for, notwithstanding all the liberality of Buddir ad Deen, it was still kept full by the genie and perie. He read the following words upon a note in the bag: "A thousand sequins belonging to Isaac the Jew." And these lines underneath, which the Jew had written, "Delivered to my lord Buddir ad Deen Houssun, for the cargo of the first of those ships that formerly belonged to the noble vizier, his father, of blessed memory, sold to me upon its arrival in this place." He had scarcely read these words, when he groaned heavily, and fainted away.
The vizier Shumse ad Deen being recovered from his fit by the aid of his daughter, and the women she called to her assistance; "Daughter," said he, "do not alarm yourself at this accident, occasioned by what is scarcely credible. Your bridegroom is your cousin, the son of my beloved and deceased brother. The thousand sequins in the bag reminds me of a quarrel I had with him, and is without the dowry he gives you. God be praised for all things, and particularly for this miraculous adventure, which demonstrates his almighty power." Then looking again upon his brother's writing, he kissed it several times, shedding abundance of tears.
He looked over the book from beginning to end. In it he found the date of his brother's arrival at Bussorah, of his marriage, and of the birth of his son; and when he compared them with the day of his own marriage, and the birth of his daughter at Cairo, he wondered at the exact coincidence which appeared in every circumstance.
The happy discovery put him into such a transport of joy, that he took the book, with the ticket of the bag, and shewed them to the sultan, who pardoned what was past, and was so much pleased with the relation of this adventure, that he caused it with all its circumstances to be put in writing for the information of posterity.
Meanwhile, the vizier. Shumse ad Deen could not comprehend the reason why his nephew did not appear; he expected him every moment, and was impatient to receive him to his arms. After he had waited seven days in vain, he searched through all Cairo, but could procure no intelligence of him, which threw him into great perplexity. "This is the strangest occurrence," said he, "that ever happened." In order to certify it, he thought fit to draw up in writing with his own hand an account of the manner in which the wedding had been solemnized; how the hall and his daughter's bed-chamber were furnished, with the other circumstances. He likewise made the turban, the bag, and the rest of Buddir ad Deen's raiment into a bundle, and locked them up.
After some days were past, the vizier's daughter perceived herself pregnant, and after nine months was brought to bed of a son. A nurse was provided for the child, besides other women and slaves to wait upon him; and his grandfather called him Agib.
When young Agib had attained the age of seven, the vizier, instead of teaching him to read at home, put him to school with a master who was in great esteem; and two slaves were ordered to wait upon him. Agib used to play with his schoolfellows, and as they were all inferior to him in rank, they shewed him great respect, according to the example of their master, who many times would pass by faults in him that he would correct in his other pupils. This indulgence spoiled Agib; he became proud and insolent, would have his play-fellows bear all from him, and would submit to nothing from them, but be master every where; and if any took the liberty to thwart him, he would call them a thousand names, and many times beat them.
In short, all the scholars grew weary of his insolence, and complained of him to their master. He answered, "That they must have patience." But when he saw that Agib grew still more and more overbearing, and occasioned him much trouble, "Children," said he to his scholars, "I find Agib is a little insolent gentleman; I will shew you how to mortify him, so that he shall never torment you any more. Nay, I believe it will make him leave the school. When he comes again to-morrow, place yourselves round him, and let one of you call out, "Come, let us play, but upon condition, that every one who desires to play shall tell his own name, and the names of his father and mother; they who refuse shall be esteemed bastards, and not be suffered to play in our company."
Next day when they were gathered together, they failed not to follow their master's instructions. They placed themselves round
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