The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-250

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

Laud to the Lord for works so wonder strange, * And what th’ Almighty wills His hand hath done! When I saw him I rose to him and invoking blessings on him asked, O my lord, wilt thou not take thy monies?” “Whence the hurry?”[FN#514] quoth he, “Wait till I have made an end of my business and then I will come and take them.” Again he rode away and I said to myself, “By Allah, when he comes next time needs must I make him my guest; for I have traded with his dirhams and have gotten large gains thereby.” At the end of the year he came again, habited in a suit of clothes more sumptuous than the former; and, when I conjured him by the Evangel to alight at my house and eat of my guest food, he said, “I consent, on condition that what thou expendest on me shall be of my monies still in thy hands. I answered, “So be it,” and made him sit down whilst I got ready what was needful of meat and drink and else besides; and set the tray before him, with the invitation “Bismillah”![FN#515] Then he drew near the tray and put out his left hand[FN#516] and ate with me; and I marvelled at his not using the right hand. When we had done eating, I poured water on his hand and gave him wherewith to wipe it. Upon this we sat down to converse after I had set before him some sweetmeats; and I said to him, “O my master, prithee relieve me by telling me why thou eatest with thy left hand? Perchance something aileth thy other hand?” When he heard my words, he repeated these verses:— “Dear friend, ask not what burneth in my breast, * Lest thou see fiery pangs eye never saw: Wills not my heart to harbour Salma in stead * Of Layla’s[FN#517] love, but need hath ne’er a law!” And he put out his right arm from his sleeve and behold, the hand was cut off, a wrist without a fist. I was astounded at this but he said, “Marvel not, and think