The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-245

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

there a night the dogs will come down on him from the adjoining terraces and eat him up.” Now his neighbour was a Reeve, the controller of the Sultan’s kitchen, and was wont to bring back great store of oil and fat and broken meats; but the cats and rats used to eat it, or, if the dogs scented a fat sheep’s tail they would come down from the nearest roofs and tear at it; and on this wise the beasts had already damaged much of what he brought home. So the Jew and his wife carried the Hunchback up to the roof; and, letting him down by his hands and feet through the wind-shaft[FN#500] into the Reeve’s house, propped him up against the wall and went their ways. Hardly had they done this when the Reeve, who had been passing an evening with his friends hearing a recitation of the Koran, came home and opened the door and, going up with a lighted candle, found a son of Adam standing in the corner under the ventilator. When he saw this, he said, “Wah! by Allah, very good forsooth! He who robbeth my stuff is none other than a man.” Then he turned to the Hunchback and said, “So ‘tis thou that stealest the meat and the fat! I thought it was the cats and dogs, and I kill the dogs and cats of the quarter and sin against them by killing them. And all the while ‘tis thou comest down from the house terrace through the wind shaft. But I will avenge myself upon thee with my own hand!” So he snatched up a heavy hammer and set upon him and smote him full on the breast and he fell down. Then he examined him and, finding that he was dead, cried out in horror, thinking that he had killed him, and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” And he feared for his life, and added “Allah curse the oil and the meat and the grease and the sheep’s tails to boot! How hath fate given this man his quietus at my hand!” Then he looked at the body and seeing it was that of a Gobbo, said, “Was it not enough for thee to be a hunchback,[FN#501] but thou must likewise be a thief and prig flesh and fat! O thou Veiler,[FN#502] deign to veil me with Thy curtain of concealment!” So he took him up on his shoulders and, going forth with him from his house about the latter end of the night, carried him to the nearest end of the bazaar, where he set him up on his feet against the wall of a shop at the head of a dark lane, and left him and went away. After a while up came a Nazarene,[FN#503] the Sultan’s broker who, much bemused with liquor, was purposing for the Hammam bath as his drunkenness whispered in his ear, “Verily the call to matins[FN#504] is nigh.” He came plodding along and staggering about till he drew near the Hunchback and squatted down to make water[FN#505] over against him; when he happened to glance around and saw a man standing against the wall. Now some person had snatched off the Christian’s turband[FN#506] in the first of the night; so when he saw the Hunchback hard by he fancied that he also meant to steal his headdress. Thereupon he clenched his fist and struck him