ABDALLAH BEN MAAMER WITH THE MAN OF BASSORA AND HIS SLAVE-GIRL

A certain man of Bassora once bought a slave-girl and reared and educated her excellent well. Moreover, he loved her very dearly and spent all his substance in pleasuring and making merry with her, till he had nothing left and want was very sore upon him. So she said to him, 'O my master, sell me; for thou needest my price and it makes my heart ache to see the sorry plight to which want hath brought thee. It thou sell me and make use of my price, it will be better for thee than keeping me, and haply God the Most High will prosper thee and mend thy fortune.' He agreed to this, of the straitness of his case, and carried her to the bazaar, where the broker offered her for sale to the Governor of Bassora, by name Abballah ben Maamer et Teimi, and she pleased him. So he bought her, for five hundred dinars, of her master, who took the money and was about to go away, when the girl burst into tears and repeated the following verses:

      May Allah prosper unto thee the money thou hast got! For me, nought's left me but lament and memory and woe.
      I say to my afflicted soul, "Mourn little or mourn much; It skills not, for the loved one's gone and will return no mo."

When he heard this, he sighed heavily and replied thus:

      Though there be no recourse for thee in this thy case and thou Find nought but death to solace thee, excuse me yet and know,
      Evening and morn the thought of thee will company with me, Wherewith a heart I will console, that's all fulfilled of woe.
      Peace be on thee! Henceforth for us no meeting shall there be Nor any union more, except Ben Maamer will it so.

When Abdallah heard these verses and saw their affliction, he exclaimed, 'By Allah, I will have no hand in separating you; for it is manifest to me that ye indeed love one another. So take the money and the damsel, O man, and may God bless thee in them! For parting is grievous to true lovers.' So they kissed his hand and going away, ceased not to dwell together, till death parted them; and glory be to Him whom death overtaketh not!




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