THE IMAM ABOU YOUSUF WITH HAROUN ER RESHID AND ZUBEIDEH

The Khalif Haroun er Reshid went up one noon-tide to his couch, to lie down, and mounting, found thereon fresh semen; whereat he was startled and sore perturbed and troubled. So he called the princess Zubeideh and said to her, 'What is that spilt on the bed?' She looked at it and replied, 'O Commander of the Faithful, it is semen.' 'Tell me truly what this means,' said he; 'or I will lay violent hands on thee forthright.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' answered she, 'indeed, I know not how it came there and I am guiltless of that whereof thou suspectest me.' So he sent for the Imam Abou Yousuf and told him the case. The Imam raised his eyes to the roof and seeing a crack therein, said to the Khalif, 'O Commander of the Faithful, the bat hath semen like that of a man, and this is bats' semen.' Then he called for a lance and thrust it into the crack, whereupon down fell the bat. In this manner the Khalif's suspicions were dispelled and Zubeideh's innocence was made manifest; whereat she gave vent to her joy and promised Abou Yousuf a liberal reward.

Now there were with her magnificent fruits, out of their season, and she knew of others in the garden; so she said to Abou Yousuf, 'O Imam of the Faith, which wouldst thou rather of the two kinds of fruits, those that are here or those that are not here?' 'Our code forbids us to pronounce judgment on the absent,' answered he. 'When they are present, we will give judgment.' So she caused bring the two kinds of fruits before him, and he ate of both. Quoth she, 'What is the difference between them?' And he answered, 'As often as I think to praise one kind, the other puts in its claim.' The Khalif laughed at his answer and made him a present. Zubeideh also gave him what she had promised him, and he went away, rejoicing. See, then, the blessed qualities of this Imam and how at his hands were made manifest the truth and the innocence of the lady Zubeideh.




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