The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-176

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

was by decree of Allah and His destiny?” But he answered, “There is no help for it;” and, springing to his feet, plied me with words and pressed me till I was perplexed and frightened; and I stuttered and stammered and my speech waxed thick and I said, “This is a mere accident by decree of Allah.” Then, O Commander of the Faithful, he guessed my case and said, “Thou hast been false to thine oath.” He at once cried out with a loud cry, whereupon a door opened and in came seven black slaves whom he commanded to drag me from my bed and throw me down in the middle of the room. Furthermore, he ordered one of them to pinion my elbows and squat upon my head; and a second to sit upon my knees and secure my feet; and drawing his sword he gave it to a third and said, “Strike her, O Sa’ad, and cut her in twain and let each one take half and cast it into the Tigris[FN#346] that the fish may eat her; for such is the retribution due to those who violate their vows and are unfaithful to their love.” And he redoubled in wrath and recited these couplets:— “An there be one who shares with me her love, * I’d strangle Love tho’ life by Love were slain Saying, O Soul, Death were the nobler choice, * For ill is Love when shared ‘twixt partners twain.” Then he repeated to the slave, “Smite her, O Sa’ad!” And when the slave who was sitting upon me made sure of the command he bent down to me and said, “O my mistress, repeat the profession of Faith and bethink thee if there be any thing thou wouldst have done; for verily this is the last hour of thy life.” “O good slave,” said I, “wait but a little while and get off my head that I may charge thee with my last injunctions.” Then I raised my head and saw the state I was in, how I had fallen from high degree into lowest disgrace; and into death after life (and such life!) and how I had brought my punishment on myself by my own sin; where upon the tears streamed from mine eyes and I wept with exceed ing weeping. But he looked on me with eyes of wrath, and began repeating:— “Tell her who turneth from our love to work it injury sore, * And taketh her a