THE THIEF AND THE MONEY-CHANGER

A money-changer, bearing a bag of money, once passed by a company of thieves, and one of the latter said to the others, 'I know how to steal yonder bag of money.' 'How wilt thou do it?' asked they. 'Look,' answered he and followed the money- changer, till he entered his house, when he threw the bag on a shelf and went into the draught-house, to do an occasion, calling to the slave-girl to bring him an ewer of water. So she took the jug and followed him to the draught-house, leaving the door open, whereupon the thief entered and taking the bag of money, made off with it to his companions, to whom he related what had passed. 'By Allah,' said they, 'this was a clever trick! It is not every one could do it: but, presently, the money-changer will come out of the draught- house and missing the bag of money, will beat the slave-girl and torture her grievously. Meseems thou hast at present done nothing worthy of praise; but, if thou be indeed a sharper, thou wilt return and save the girl from being beaten.' 'If it be the will of God,' answered the thief, 'I will save both the girl and the purse.'

Then he went back to the money-changer's house and found him beating the girl, because of the bag of money; so he knocked at the door and the man said, 'Who is there? Quoth the thief, 'I am the servant of thy neighbour in the bazaar.' So he came out to him and said, 'What is thy business?' 'My master salutes thee,' replied the thief, 'and says to thee, "Surely, thou art mad to cast the like of this bag of money down at the door of thy shop and go away and leave it! Had a stranger chanced on it, he had made off with it." And except my master had seen it and taken care of it, it had been lost to thee.' So saying, he pulled out the purse and showed it to the money-changer, who said, 'That is indeed my purse,' and put out his hand to take it; but the thief said, 'By Allah, I will not give it thee, till thou write me a receipt; for I fear my master will not believe that thou hast duly received the purse, except I bring him a writing to that effect, under thy hand and seal.' So the money-changer went in to write the receipt; but, in the meantime, the thief made off with the bag of money, having [thus] saved the slave-girl her beating.




Prev
Home
Next