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- Tales from the Arabic Volume 2 - 1/39 -


TALES FROM THE ARABIC

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:

VOLUME THE SECOND.

1901

Delhi Edition

Contents of The Second Volume.

Breslau Text.

1. King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan (Continued) a. Story of the Pious Woman Accused of Lewdness b. Story of the Journeyman and the Girl c. Story of the Weaver Who Became a Physician by His Wife's Commandment d. Story of the Two Sharpers Who Cheated Each His Fellow e. Story of the Sharpers with the Money-Changer and the Ass f. Story of the Sharper and the Merchants i. Story of the Hawk and the Locust g. Story Op the King and His Chamberlain Wife h. Story of the Old Woman and the Draper's Wife i. Story of the Foul-favoured Man and His Fair Wife j. Story of the King Who Lost Kingdom and Wife and Wealth and God Restored Them To Him k. Story of Selim and Selma l. Story of the King of Hind and His Vizier 2. El Melik Ez Zahir Rukneddin Bibers El Bunducdari and the Sixteen Officers Of Police a. The First Officer's Story b. The Second Officer's Story c. The Third Officer's Story d. The Fourth Officer's Story e. The Fifth Officer's Story f. The Sixth Officer's Story g. The Seventh Officer's Story h. The Eighth Officer's Story i. The Thief's Story i. The Ninth Officer's Story j. The Tenth Officer's Story k. The Eleventh Officer's Story l. The Twelfth Officer's Story m. The Thirteenth Officer's Story n. The Fourteenth Officer's Story i. A Merry Jest of a Thief ii. Story of the Old Sharper o. The Fifteenth Officer's Story p. The Sixteenth Officer's Story 3. Abdallah Ben Nafi and the King's Son of Cashghar a. Story of the Damsel Tuhfet El Culoub and the Khalif Haroun Er Reshid

Calcutta (1814-8) Text

4. Women's Craft

Breslau Text.

King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan (continued).

The Eighteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier and required of him the [promised] story; so he said, "It is well. Know, O king, that

STORY OF THE PIOUS WOMAN ACCUSED OF LEWDNESS.

There was once a man of Nishapour,[FN#1] who had a wife of the utmost loveliness and piety, and he was minded to set out on the pilgrimage. So he commended his wife to the care of his brother and besought him to aid her in her affairs and further her to her desires till he should return, so they both abode alive and well. Then he took ship and departed and his absence was prolonged. Meanwhile, the brother went in to his brother's wife, at all times and seasons, and questioned her of her circumstances and went about her occasions; and when his visits to her were prolonged and he heard her speech and looked upon her face, the love of her gat hold upon his heart and he became distraught with passion for her and his soul prompted him [to evil]. So he besought her to lie with him, but she refused and chid him for his foul deed, and he found him no way unto presumption;[FN#2] wherefore he importuned her with soft speech and gentleness.

Now she was righteous in all her dealings and swerved not from one word;[FN#3] so, when he saw that she consented not unto him, he misdoubted that she would tell his brother, when he returned from his journey, and said to her, 'An thou consent not to this whereof I require thee, I will cause thee fall into suspicion and thou wilt perish.' Quoth she, 'Be God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) [judge] betwixt me and thee, and know that, shouldst thou tear me limb from limb, I would not consent to that whereto thou biddest me.' His folly[FN#4] persuaded him that she would tell her husband; so, of his exceeding despite, he betook himself to a company of people in the mosque and told them that he had witnessed a man commit adultery with his brother's wife. They believed his saying and took act of his accusation and assembled to stone her. Then they dug her a pit without the city and seating her therein, stoned her, till they deemed her dead, when they left her.

Presently a villager passed by [the pit and finding] her [alive,] carried her to his house and tended her, [till she recovered]. Now, he had a son, and when the young man saw her, he loved her and besought her of herself; but she refused and consented not to him, whereupon he redoubled in love and longing and despite prompted him to suborn a youth of the people of his village and agree with him that he should come by night and take somewhat from his father's house and that, when he was discovered, he should say that she was of accord with him in this and avouch that she was his mistress and had been stoned on his account in the city. So he did this and coming by night to the villager's house, stole therefrom goods and clothes; whereupon the old man awoke and seizing the thief, bound him fast and beat him, to make him confess. So he confessed against the woman that she had prompted him to this and that he was her lover from the city. The news was bruited abroad and the people of the city assembled to put her to death; but the old man, with whom she was, forbade them and said, 'I brought this woman hither, coveting the recompense [of God,] and I know not [the truth of] that which is said of her and will not suffer any to hurt her.' Then he gave her a thousand dirhems, by way of alms, and put her forth of the village. As for the thief, he was imprisoned for some days; after which the folk interceded for him with the old man, saying, 'This is a youth and indeed he erred;' and he released him.

Meanwhile, the woman went out at hazard and donning devotee's apparel, fared on without ceasing, till she came to a city and found the king's deputies dunning the towns-folk for the tribute, out of season. Presently, she saw a man, whom they were pressing for the tribute; so she enquired of his case and being acquainted therewith, paid down the thousand dirhems for him and delivered him from beating; whereupon he thanked her and those who were present. When he was set free, he accosted her and besought her to go with him to his dwelling. So she accompanied him thither and supped with him and passed the night. When the night darkened on him, his soul prompted him to evil, for that which he saw of her beauty and loveliness, and he lusted after her and required her [of love]; but she repelled him and bade him fear God the Most High and reminded him of that which she had done with him of kindness and how she had delivered him from beating and humiliation.

However, he would not be denied, and when he saw her [constant] refusal of herself to him, he feared lest she should tell the folk of him. So, when he arose in the morning, he took a scroll and wrote in it what he would of forgery and falsehood and going up to the Sultan's palace, said, '[I have] an advisement [for the king].' So he bade admit him and he delivered him the writ that he had forged, saying, 'I found this letter with the woman, the devotee, the ascetic, and indeed she is a spy, a secret informer against the king to his enemy; and I deem the king's due more incumbent on me than any other and his advisement the first [duty], for that he uniteth in himself all the people, and but for the king's presence, the subjects would perish; wherefore I have brought [thee] warning.' The king put faith in his words and sent with him those who should lay hands upon the woman and put her to death; but they found her not.

As for the woman, whenas the man went out from her, she resolved to depart; so she went forth, saying in herself, 'There is no journeying for me in woman's attire.' Then she donned men's apparel, such as is worn of the pious, and set out and wandered over the earth; nor did she leave going till she entered a


Tales from the Arabic Volume 2 - 1/39

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