MAAN BEN ZAÏDEH AND THE THREE GIRLS.

It is told of Maan ben Zaïdeh (121) that, being out one day a-hunting, he became athirst and would have drunk, but his men had no water with them. Presently, he met three damsels, bearing three skins of water; so he begged drink of them, and they gave him to drink. Then he sought of his men somewhat to give the damsels; but they had no money; so he gave each girl ten golden-headed arrows from his quiver. Whereupon quoth one of them to her mates, 'Harkye! These fashions pertain to none but Maan ben Zaïdeh; so let each of us recite somewhat of verse in his praise.' Then said the first:

      He heads his shafts with gold and shooting at his foes, Dispenses thus largesse and bounties far and wide,
      Giving the wounded man wherewith to get him cure And grave-clothes unto him must in the tombs abide.

And the second:

      A warrior, for the great excess of his magnificence, both friends and foes enjoy the goods his liberal hands dispense.
      His arrowheads are forged of gold, that so his very wars May not estop his generous soul from its munificence.

And the third:

      With arrows he shoots at his foes, of his generosity, Whose heads are fashioned and forged of virgin gold, in steel's room;
      That those whom he wounds may spend the price of the gold for their cure And those that are slain of his shafts may buy them the wede of the tomb.


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