EL AMIN BEN ER RESHID AND HIS UNCLE IBRAHIM BEN EL MEHDI.

El Amin, (171) son of Er Reshid, once entered the house of his uncle Ibrahim ben el Mehdi and saw there a slave-girl playing upon the lute. She was one of the fairest of women, and his heart inclined to her. Ibrahim, seeing how it was with him, sent the girl to him, with rich apparel and precious jewels. When he saw her, he thought that his uncle had lain with her; so he was loath to have to do with her, because of this, and sent her back to Ibrahim, accepting the present that came with her. Ibrahim learnt the reason of this from one of El Amin's servants; so he took a shift of flowered silk and let work upon his skirt, in letters of gold, the following lines:

      By Him to whom all fronts do bow, of that which is Beneath her skirt, I swear, I'm ignorant outright;
      Nor have I had in aught to meddle with her mouth, Except it were by way of hearing and of sight.

Then he clad her in the shift and giving her a lute sent her once more to his nephew. When she came into the latter's presence, she kissed the earth before him and tuning the lute, sang thereto the following verses:

      By returning the gift, thou showest what's hid in thy breast, And thine aversion to me is made manifest.
      As thou bear malice for aught that hath been,--forgive The past, for the Khalifate's sake, and let it rest.

When she had made an end of her song, El Amin looked at her and reading that which was wrought upon her skirt, could not control himself, but drew near unto her and kissed her and appointed her a separate lodging in his palace. Moreover, he thanked his uncle for this and bestowed on him the government of Er Reï. (172)




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