The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-35

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

Father Broad o’ Brow, what thou purposest to do to morrow?” The Bull answered, “What but continue to follow thy counsel, O Aliboron? Indeed it was as good as good could be and it hath given me rest and repose; nor will I now depart from it one little: so, when they bring me my meat, I will refuse it and blow out my belly and counterfeit crank.” The Ass shook his head and said, “Beware of so doing, O Father of a Bull!” The Bull asked, “Why,” and the Ass answered, “Know that I am about to give thee the best of counsel, for verily I heard our owner say to the herd, If the Bull rise not from his place to do his work this morning and if he retire from his fodder this day, make him over to the butcher that he may slaughter him and give his flesh to the poor, and fashion a bit of leather[FN#34] from his hide. Now I fear for thee on account of this. So take my advice ere a calamity befal thee; and when they bring thee thy fodder eat it and rise up and bellow and paw the ground, or our master will assuredly slay thee: and peace be with thee!” Thereupon the Bull arose and lowed aloud and thanked the Ass, and said, “To morrow I will readily go forth with them;” and he at once ate up all his meat and even licked the manger. (All this took place and the owner was listening to their talk.) Next morning the trader and his wife went to the Bull’s crib and sat down, and the driver came and led forth the Bull who, seeing his owner, whisked his tail and brake wind, and frisked about so lustily that the merchant laughed a loud laugh and kept laughing till he fell on his back. His wife asked him, “Whereat laughest thou with such loud laughter as this?”; and he answered her, “I laughed at a secret something which I have heard and seen but cannot say lest I die my death.” She returned, “Perforce thou must discover it to me, and disclose the cause of thy laughing even if thou come by thy death!” But he rejoined, “I cannot re veal what beasts and birds say in their lingo for fear I die.” Then quoth she, “By Allah, thou liest! this is a mere pretext: thou laughest at none save me, and now thou wouldest hide somewhat from me. But by the Lord of the Heavens! an thou disclose not the cause I will no longer cohabit with thee: I will leave thee at once.” And she sat down and cried. Whereupon quoth the merchant, “Woe betide thee! what means thy weeping? Bear Allah and leave these words and query me no more questions.” “Needs must thou tell me the cause of that laugh,” said she, and he replied, “Thou wottest that when I prayed Allah to vouchsafe me understanding of the tongues of beasts and birds, I made a vow never to disclose the secret to any under pain of dying on the spot.” “No matter,” cried she, “tell me what secret passed between the Bull and the Ass and die this very hour an thou be so minded;” and she ceased not to importune him till he was worn out