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- Tales from the Arabic Volume 1 - 1/41 -


Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of

The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night

not occurring in the other printed texts of the work,

Now first done into English

By John Payne

In Three Volumes:



Delhi Edition

Contents of The First Volume.

Breslau Text.

1. Asleep and Awake a. Story of the Lackpenny and the Cook 2. The Khalif Omar Ben Abdulaziz and the Poets 3. El Hejjaj and the Three Young Men 4. Haroun Er Reshid and the Woman of the Barmecides 5. The Ten Viziers; or the History of King Azadbekht and His Son a. Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill Fortune i. Story of the Unlucky Merchant b. Of Looking to the Issues of Affairs i. Story of the Merchant and His Sons c. Of the Advantages of Patience i. Story of Abou Sabir d. Of the Ill Effects of Precipitation i. Story of Prince Bihzad e. Of the Issues of Good and Evil Actions i. Story of King Dadbin and His Viziers f. Of Trust in God i. Story of King Bexhtzeman g. Of Clemency i. Story of King Bihkerd h. Of Envy and Malice i. Story of Ilan Shah and Abou Temam i. Of Destiny or That Which Is Written on the Forehead i. Story of King Abraham and His Son j. Of the Appointed Term, Which, If it Be Advanced, May Not Be Deferred and If it Be Deferred, May Not Be Advanced i. Story of King Suleiman Shah and His Sons k. Of the Speedy Relief of God i. Story of the Prisoner and How God Gave Him Relief 6. Jaafer Ben Yehya and Abdulmelik Ben Salih the Abbaside 7. Er Reshid and the Barmecides 8. Ibn Es Semmak and Er Reshid 9. El Mamoun and Zubeideh 10. En Numan and the Arab of the Benou Tai 11. Firouz and His Wife 12. King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan a. Story of the Man of Khorassan, His Son and His Governor b. Story of the Singer and the Druggist c. Story of the King Who Knew the Quintessence of Things d. Story of the Rich Man Who Gave His Fair Daughter in Marriage to the Poor Old Man e. Story of the Rich Man and His Wasteful Son f. The King's Son Who Fell in Love with the Picture g. Story of the Fuller and His Wife h. Story of the Old Woman, the Merchant and the King i. Story of the Credulous Husband j. Story of the Unjust King and the Tither i. Story of David and Solomon k. Story of the Thief and the Woman l. Story of the Three Men and Our Lord Jesus i. The Disciple's Story m. Story of the Dethroned King Whose Kingdom and Good Were Restorfd to Him n. Story of the Man Whose Caution Was the Cause of His Death o. Story of the Man Who Was Lavish of His House and His Victual to One Whom He Knew Not p. Story of the Idiot and the Sharper q. Story of Khelbes and His Wife and the Learned Man

Breslau Text.


There was once [at Baghdad], in the Khalifate of Haroun er Reshid, a man, a merchant, who had a son by name Aboulhusn el Khelia.[FN#2] The merchant died and left his son great store of wealth, which he divided into two parts, one of which he laid up and spent of the other half; and he fell to companying with Persians[FN#3] and with the sons of the merchants and gave himself up to good eating and good drinking, till all that he had with him of wealth[FN#4] was wasted and gone; whereupon he betook himself to his friends and comrades and boon-companions and expounded to them his case, discovering to them the failure of that which was in his hand of wealth; but not one of them took heed of him neither inclined unto him.

So he returned to his mother (and indeed his spirit was broken), and related to her that which had happened to him and what had betided him from his friends, how they, had neither shared with him nor requited him with speech. "O Aboulhusn," answered she, "on this wise are the sons[FN#5]of this time: if thou have aught, they make much of thee,[FN#6] and if thou have nought, they put thee away [from them]." And she went on to condole with him, what while he bewailed himself and his tears flowed and he repeated the following verses:

An if my substance fail, no one there is will succour me, But if my wealth abound, of all I'm held in amity. How many a friend, for money's sake, hath companied with me! How many an one, with loss of wealth, hath turned mine enemy!

Then he sprang up [and going] to the place wherein was the other half of his good, [took it] and lived with it well; and he swore that he would never again consort with those whom he knew, but would company only with the stranger nor entertain him but one night and that, whenas it morrowed, he would never know him more. So he fell to sitting every night on the bridge[FN#7] and looking on every one who passed by him; and if he saw him to be a stranger, he made friends with him and carried him to his house, where he caroused with him till the morning. Then he dismissed him and would never more salute him nor ever again drew near unto him neither invited him.

On this wise he continued to do for the space of a whole year, till, one day, as he sat on the bridge, according to his custom, expecting who should come to him, so he might take him and pass the night with him, behold, [up came] the Khalif and Mesrour, the swordsman of his vengeance, disguised [in merchants' habits] as of their wont. So he looked at them and rising up, for that he knew them not, said to them, "What say ye? Will you go with me to my dwelling-place, so ye may eat what is ready and drink what is at hand, to wit, bread baked in the platter[FN#8] and meat cooked and wine clarified?" The Khalif refused this, but he conjured him and said to him, "God on thee, O my lord, go with me, for thou art my guest this night, and disappoint not my expectation concerning thee!" And he ceased not to press him till he consented to him; whereat Aboulhusn rejoiced and going on before him, gave not over talking with him till they came to his [house and he carried the Khalif into the] saloon. Er Reshid entered and made his servant abide at the door; and as soon as he was seated, Aboulhusn brought him somewhat to eat; so he ate, and Aboulhusn ate with him, so eating might be pleasant to him. Then he removed the tray and they washed their hands and the Khalif sat down again; whereupon Aboulhusn set on the drinking vessels and seating himself by his side, fell to filling and giving him to drink and entertaining him with discourse.

His hospitality pleased the Khalif and the goodliness of his fashion, and he said to him, "O youth, who art thou? Make me acquainted with thyself, so I may requite thee thy kindness." But Aboulhusn smiled and said, "O my lord, far be it that what is past should recur and that I be in company with thee at other than this time!" "Why so?" asked the Khalif. "And why wilt thou not acquaint me with thy case?" And Aboulhusn said, "Know, O my lord, that my story is extraordinary and that there is a cause for this affair." Quoth the Khalif, "And what is the cause?" And he answered, "The cause hath a tail." The Khalif laughed at his words and Aboulhusn said, "I will explain to thee this [saying] by the story of the lackpenny and the cook. Know, O my lord, that


One of the good-for-noughts found himself one day without aught and the world was straitened upon him and his patience failed; so he lay down to sleep and gave not over sleeping till the sun burnt him and the foam came out upon his mouth, whereupon he

Tales from the Arabic Volume 1 - 1/41

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