The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-298

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

out to the slave girl, “Bring me twenty dirhams,” and my brother spake not a word; but the lady signed, “Take nothing from him;’ whereupon my brother said, “By Allah I will take naught from thy hand. And he carried off his tailor’s gear and returned to his shop, although he was destitute even to a red cent.[FN#638] Then he applied himself to do their work; eating, in his zeal and diligence, but a bit of bread and drinking only a little water for three days. At the end of this time came the handmaid and said to him, “What hast thou done?” Quoth he, “They are finished,” and carried the shirts to the lady’s husband, who would have paid him his hire: but he said, “I will take nothing,” for fear of her and, returning to his shop, passed the night without sleep because of his hunger. Now the dame had informed her husband how the case stood (my brother knowing naught of this); and the two had agreed to make him tailor for nothing, the better to mock and laugh at him. Next morning he went to his shop, and, as he sat there, the handmaid came to him and said, “Speak with my master.” So he accompanied her to the husband who said to him, “I wish thee to cut out for me five long sleeved robes.”[FN#639] So he cut them out[FN#640] and took the stuff and went away. Then he sewed them and carried them to the gentleman, who praised his sewing and offered him a purse of silver. He put out his hand to take it, but the lady signed to him from behind her husband not to do so, and he replied, “O my lord, there is no hurry, we have time enough for this.” Then he went forth from the house meaner and meeker than a donkey, for verily five things were gathered together in him viz.: love, beggary, hunger, nakedness and hard labour. Nevertheless he heartened himself with the hope of gaining the lady’s favours. When he had made an end of all their jobs, they played him another trick and married him to their slave girl; but, on the night when he thought to go in to her, they said to him, “Lie this night in the mill; and to morrow all will go well.” My brother concluded that there was some good cause for this and nighted alone in the mill. Now the husband had set on the miller to make the tailor turn the mill: so when night was half spent the man came in to him and began to say, “This bull of ours hath be come useless and standeth still instead of going round: he will not turn the mill this night, and yet we have great store of corn to be ground. However, I’ll yoke him perforce and make him finish grinding it before morning, as the folk are impatient for their flour.” So he filled the hoppers with grain and, going up to my brother with a rope in his hand, tied it round his neck and said to him, “Gee up! Round with the mill! thou, O bull, wouldst do nothing but grub and stale and dung!” Then he took a whip and laid it on the shoulders and calves of my brother, who began to howl and bellow; but