The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-258

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

dinars as the soldier had said, waxed exceeding wroth and bade his guard bring me before him. Then said he to me, “Now, O youth, speak truly: didst thou steal this purse?”[FN#544] At this I hung my head to the ground and said to myself, “If I deny having stolen it, I shall get myself into terrible trouble.” So I raised my head and said, “Yes, I took it.” When the Governor heard these words he wondered and summoned witnesses who came forward and attested my confession. All this happened at the Zuwaylah Gate. Then the Governor ordered the link bearer to cut off my right hand, and he did so; after which he would have struck off my left foot also; but the heart of the soldier softened and he took pity on me and interceded for me with the Governor that I should not be slain.[FN#545] Thereupon the Wali left me, and went away and the folk remained round me and gave me a cup of wine to drink. As for the trooper he pressed the purse upon me, and said, “Thou art a comely youth and it befitteth not thou be a thief.” So I repeated these verses:— “I swear by Allah’s name, fair sir! no thief was I, Nor, O thou best of men! was I a bandit bred: But Fortune’s change and chance o’erthrew me suddenly, And cark and care and penury my course misled: I shot it not, indeed, ‘twas Allah shot the shaft * That rolled in dust the Kingly diadem from my head.”[FN#546] The soldier turned away after giving me the purse; and I also went my ways having wrapped my hand in a piece of rag and thrust it into my bosom. My whole semblance had changed, and my colour had waxed yellow from the shame and pain which had befallen me. Yet I went on to my mistress’s house where, in extreme perturbation of spirit I threw myself down on the carpet bed. She saw me in this state and asked me, “What aileth thee and why do I see thee so changed in looks?”; and I answered, “My head paineth me and I am far from well.” Whereupon she was vexed and was concerned on my account and said, “Burn not my heart, O my lord, but sit up and raise thy head and recount to me what hath happened to thee today, for thy face tells me a tale.” “Leave this talk,” replied I. But she wept and said, “Me seems thou art tired of me, for I see thee contrary to thy wont.” But I was silent; and she kept on talking to me albeit I gave her no answer, till night came on.