The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-108

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

see thou art one like ourselves.” Then said the Caliph, “We be seven men, and they only three women without even a fourth to help them; so let us question them of their case; and, if they answer us not, fain we will be answered by force.” All of them agreed to this except Ja’afar who said,[FN#186] “This is not my recking; let them be; for we are their guests and, as ye know, they made a compact and condition with us which we accepted and promised to keep: wherefore it is better that we be silent concerning this matter; and, as but little of the night remaineth, let each and every of us gang his own gait.” Then he winked at the Caliph and whispered to him, “There is but one hour of darkness left and I can bring them before thee to morrow, when thou canst freely question them all concerning their story.” But the Caliph raised his head haughtily and cried out at him in wrath, saying, “I have no patience left for my longing to hear of them: let the Kalandars question them forthright.” Quoth Ja’afar, “This is not my rede.” Then words ran high and talk answered talk, and they disputed as to who should first put the question, but at last all fixed upon the Porter. And as the jingle increased the house mistress could not but notice it and asked them, “O ye folk! on what matter are ye talking so loudly?” Then the Porter stood up respectfully before her and said, “O my lady, this company earnestly desire that thou acquaint them with the story of the two bitches and what maketh thee punish them so cruelly; and then thou fallest to weeping over them and kissing them; and lastly they want to hear the tale of thy sister and why she hath been bastinado’d with palm sticks like a man. These are the questions they charge me to put, and peace be with thee.”[FN#187] Thereupon quoth she who was the lady of the house to the guests, “Is this true that he saith on your part?” and all replied, “Yes!” save Ja’afar who kept silence. When she heard these words she cried, “By Allah, ye have wronged us, O our guests. with grievous wronging; for when you came before us we made compact and condition with you, that whoso should speak of what concerneth him not should hear what pleaseth him not. Sufficeth ye not that we took you into our house and fed you with our best food? But the fault is not so much yours as hers who let you in.” Then she tucked up her sleeves from her wrists and struck the floor thrice with her hand crying, “Come ye quickly;” and lo! a closet door opened and out of it came seven negro slaves with drawn swords in hand to whom she said, “Pinion me those praters’ elbows and bind them each to each.” They did her bidding and asked her, “O veiled and virtuous! is it thy high