The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-301

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

be reasonable and leave idle curiosity and many words, and do my bidding.” “I will indeed, O my lady,” said he, “how is it thou hast preferred me in this matter before all men and what is it that so much pleaseth thee in me?” Quoth she, “Did I not bid thee be spare of speech? Hold thy peace and follow me. Know, that the young lady, to whom I shall carry thee, loveth to have her own way and hateth being thwarted and all who gainsay; so, if thou humour her, thou shalt come to thy desire of her.” And my brother said, “I will not cross her in anything.” Then she went on and my brother followed her, an hungering after what she described to him till they entered a fine large house, handsome and choicely furnished, full of eunuchs and servants and showing signs of prosperity from top to bottom. And she was carrying him to the upper story when the people of the house said to him, “What dost thou here?” But the old woman answered them, “Hold your peace and trouble him not: he is a workman and we have occasion for him.” Then she brought him into a fine great pavilion, with a garden in its midst, never eyes saw a fairer; and made him sit upon a handsome couch. He had not sat long, be fore he heard a loud noise and in came a troop of slave girls surrounding a lady like the moon on the night of its fullest. When he saw her, he rose up and made an obeisance to her, whereupon she welcomed him and bade him be seated. So he sat down and she said to him, “Allah advance thee to honour! Is all well with thee?” “O my lady,” he answered, “all with me is right well.” Then she bade bring in food, and they set before her delicate viands; so she sat down to eat, making a show of affection to my brother and jesting with him, though all the while she could not refrain from laughing; but as often as he looked at her, she signed towards her handmaidens as though she were laughing at them. My brother (the ass!) understood nothing; but, in the excess of his ridiculous passion, he fancied that the lady was in love with him and that she would soon grant him his desire. When they had done eating, they set on the wine and there came in ten maidens like moons, with lutes ready strung in their hands, and fell to singing with full voices, sweet and sad, whereupon delight gat hold upon him and he took the cup from the lady’s hands and drank it standing. Then she drank a cup of wine and my brother (still standing) said to her “Health,” and bowed to her. She handed him another cup and he drank it off, when she slapped him hard on the nape of his neck.[FN#644] Upon this my brother would have gone out of the house in anger; but the old woman followed him and winked to him to return. So he came back and the lady bade him sit and he sat down without a word. Then she again slapped him on the nape of his neck; and the second slapping did not suffice her, she must needs make all her handmaidens also slap and cuff him, while he kept saying to the old