THE THIEF TURNED MERCHANT AND THE OTHER THIEF

There was once a thief who repented to God the Most High and making good his repentance, opened himself a shop for the sale of stuffs, where he continued to trade awhile. One day, he locked his shop and went home; and in the night there came to the bazaar a cunning thief, disguised in the habit of the merchant, and pulling out keys from his sleeve, said to the watchman of the market, 'Light me this candle.' So the watchman took the candle and went to get a light, whilst the thief opened the shop and lit another candle he had with him. When the watchman came back, he found him seated in the shop, looking over the account-books and reckoning with his fingers; nor did he leave to do thus till point of day, when he said to the man, 'Fetch me a camel-driver and his camel, to carry some goods for me.' So the man fetched him a camel, and the thief took four bales of stuffs and gave them to the camel-driver, who loaded them on his beast. Then he gave the watchman two dirhems and went away after the camel-driver, the watchman the while believing him to be the owner of the shop.

Next morning, the merchant came and the watchman greeted him with blessings, because of the two dirhems, much to the surprise of the former, who knew not what he meant. When he opened his shop, he saw the droppings of the wax and the account-book lying on the floor, and looking round, found four bales of stuffs missing. So he asked the watchman what had happened and he told him what had passed in the night, whereupon the merchant bade him fetch the camel-driver and said to the latter, 'Whither didst thou carry the stuffs?' 'To such a wharf,' answered the driver; 'and I stowed them on board such a vessel.' 'Come with me thither,' said the merchant. So the camel-driver carried him to the wharf and showed him the barque and her owner. Quoth the merchant to the latter, 'Whither didst thou carry the merchant and the stuff?' 'To such a place,' answered the master, 'where he fetched a camel-driver and setting the bales on the camel, went I know not whither.' 'Fetch me the camel-driver,' said the merchant; so he fetched him and the merchant said to him, 'Whither didst thou carry the bales of stuffs from the ship?' 'To such a khan,' answered he. 'Come thither with me and show it to me,' said the merchant.

So the camel-driver went with him to a khan at a distance from the shore, where he had set down the stuffs, and showed him the mock merchant's magazine, which he opened and found therein his four bales untouched and unopened. The thief had laid his mantle over them; so the merchant took the bales and the cloak and delivered them to the camel-driver, who laid them on his camel; after which the merchant locked the magazine and went away with the camel-driver. On the way, he met the thief, who followed him, till he had shipped the bales, when he said to him, 'O my brother (God have thee in His keeping!), thou hast recovered thy goods, and nought of them is lost; so give me back my cloak.' The merchant laughed and giving him back his cloak, let him go unhindered.




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