The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-296

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

feast, I joined them and mixed with them. After a while up came the watch and guardians of the peace, who put chains round their necks and round mine with the rest; but, in the excess of my courtesy, I held my peace and spake not a word; nor was this other but generosity on my part. They brought us into thy presence, and thou gayest an order to smite the necks of the ten; yet did I not make myself known to thee and remained silent before the Sworder, purely of my great generosity and courtesy which led me to share with them in their death. But all my life long have I dealt thus nobly with mankind, and they requite me the foulest and evillest requital!” When the Caliph heard my words and knew that I was a man of exceeding generosity and of very few words, one in whom is no forwardness (as this youth would have it whom I rescued from mortal risk and who hath so scurvily repaid me), he laughed with excessive laughter till he fell upon his back. Then said he to me, “O Silent Man, do thy six brothers favour thee in wisdom and knowledge and spareness of speech?” I replied, “Never were they like me! Thou puttest reproach upon me, O Commander of the Faithful, and it becomes thee not to even my brothers with me; for, of the abundance of their speech and their deficiency of courtesy and gravity, each one of them hath gotten some maim or other. One is a monocular, another palsied, a third stone blind, a fourth cropped of ears and nose and a fifth shorn of both lips, while the sixth is a hunchback and a cripple. And conceive not, O Commander of the Faithful, that I am prodigal of speech; but I must perforce explain to thee that I am a man of greater worth and fewer words than any of them. From each one of my brothers hangs a tale of how he came by his bodily defect and these I will relate to thee.” So the Caliph gave ear to The Barber’s Tale of his First Brother. Know then, O Commander of the Faithful, that my first brother, Al Bakbuk, the Prattler, is a Hunchback who took to tailoring in Baghdad, and he used to sew in a shop hired from a man of much wealth, who dwelt over the shop,[FN#635] and there was also a flour-mill in the basement. One day as my brother, the Hunchback, was sitting in his shop a tailoring, he chanced to raise his head and saw a lady like the rising full moon at a balconied window of his landlord’s house, engaged in looking out at the passers by.[FN#636] When my brother beheld her, his heart was taken with love of her and he passed his whole day