YEHYA BEN KHALID THE BARMECIDE AND THE POOR MAN

Yehya ben Khalid the Barmecide was returning home, one day, from the Khalif's palace, when he saw a man at the gate of his house, who rose at his approach and saluted him, saying, 'O Yehya, I am in need of that which is in thy hand, and I make God my intermediary with thee.' So Yehya caused set apart a place for him in his house and bade his treasurer carry him a thousand dirhems every day and that his food should be of the choicest of his own meat. The man abode thus a whole month, at the end of which time, having received in all thirty thousand dirhems, he departed by stealth, fearing lest Yehya should take the money from him, because of the greatness of the sum; and when they told Yehya of this, he said, 'By Allah, though he had tarried with me to the end of his days, yet had I not scanted him of my largesse nor cut off from him the bounties of my hospitality!' For, indeed, the excellences of the Barmecides were past count nor can their virtues be told; especially those of Yehya teen Khalid, for he abounded in noble qualities, even as saith the poet of him:

      I asked munificence, "Art free?" It answered, "No, perdie! Yehya ben Khalid's slave am I; my lord and master he."
      "A boughten slave?" asked I; but, "Nay, so heaven forfend!" quoth it. "From ancestor to ancestor he did inherit me."


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