THE POOR MAN AND HIS GENEROUS FRIEND

There was once a rich man, who lost all he had and became poor, whereupon his wife counselled him to seek aid of one of his friends. So he betook himself to a certain friend of his and acquainted him with his strait; and he lent him five hundred dinars to trade withal. Now he had aforetime been a jeweller; so he took the money and went to the jewel-bazaar, where he opened a shop to buy and sell. Presently, three men accosted him, as he sat in his shop, and asked for his father. He told them that he was dead, and they said, 'Did he leave any offspring?' Quoth the jeweller, 'He left a son, your servant.' 'And who knoweth thee for his son?' asked they. 'The people of the bazaar,' replied he; and they said, 'Call them together, that they may testify to us that thou art his son.' So he called them and they bore witness of this; whereupon the three men delivered to him a pair of saddle- bags, containing thirty thousand dinars, besides jewels and bullion, saying, 'This was deposited with us in trust by thy father.' Then they went away; and presently there came to him a woman, who sought of him certain of the jewels, worth five hundred dinars, and paid him three thousand for them.

So he took five hundred dinars and carrying them to his friend, who had lent him the money, said to him, 'Take the five hundred dinars I borrowed of thee; for God hath aided and prospered me.' 'Not so,' quoth the other. 'I gave them to thee outright, for the love of God; so do thou keep them. And take this paper, but read it not, till thou be at home, and do according to that which is therein.' So he took the paper and returned home, where he opened it and read therein the following verses:

      The men who came to thee at first my kinsmen were, my sire, His brother and my dam's, Salih ben Ali is his name.
      Moreover, she to whom thou soldst the goods my mother was, And eke the jewels and the gold, from me, to boot, they came;
      Nor, in thus ordering myself to thee, aught did I seek Save of the taking it from me to spare thee from the shame.



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