The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-317

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

he saw neither ewer nor basin; yet his host kept washing his hands with invisible soap in imperceptible water and cried, “Bring the table!” But my brother again saw nothing. Then said the host, “Honour me by eating of this meat and be not ashamed.” And he kept moving his hand to and fro as if he ate and saying to my brother, “I wonder to see thee eating thus sparely: do not stint thyself for I am sure thou art famished.” So my brother began to make as though he were eating whilst his host kept saying to him, “Fall to, and note especially the excellence of this bread and its whiteness!” But still my brother saw nothing. Then said he to himself, “This man is fond of poking fun at people;” and replied, “O my lord, in all my days I never knew aught more winsome than its whiteness or sweeter than its savour.” The Barmecide said, “This bread was baked by a hand maid of mine whom I bought for five hundred dinars.” Then he called out, “Ho boy, bring in the meat pudding[FN#687] for our first dish, and let there be plenty of fat in it;” and, turning to my brother said, “O my guest, Allah upon thee, hast ever seen anything better than this meat pudding? Now by my life, eat and be not abashed.” Presently he cried out again, “Ho boy, serve up the marinated stew[FN#688] with the fatted sand grouse in it;” and he said to my brother, “Up and eat, O my guest, for truly thou art hungry and needest food.” So my brother began wagging his jaws and made as if champing and chewing,[FN#689] whilst the host continued calling for one dish after another and yet produced nothing save orders to eat. Presently he cried out, “Ho boy, bring us the chickens stuffed with pistachio nuts;” and said to my brother, “By thy life, O my guest, I have fattened these chickens upon pistachios; eat, for thou hast never eaten their like.” “O my lord,” replied my brother, “they are indeed first rate.” Then the host began motioning with his hand as though he were giving my brother a mouthful; and ceased not to enumerate and expatiate upon the various dishes to the hungry man whose hunger waxt still more violent, so that his soul lusted after a bit of bread, even a barley scone.[FN#690] Quoth the Barmecide, “Didst thou ever taste anything more delicious than the seasoning of these dishes?”; and quoth my brother, “Never, O my lord!” “Eat heartily and be not ashamed,” said the host, and the guest, “I have eaten my fill of meat;” So the entertainer cried, “Take away and bring in the sweets;” and turning to my brother said, “Eat of this almond conserve for it is prime and of these honey fritters; take this one, by my life, the syrup runs out of it.” “May I never be bereaved of thee, O my lord,” replied the hungry one and began to ask him about the abundance of musk in the fritters. “Such is my custom,” he answered: “they put me a dinar weight of musk in