ABOU SUWEID AND THE HANDSOME OLD WOMAN.

(Quoth Abou Suweid), I entered a garden one day, I and a company of my friends, to buy somewhat of fruit; and we saw, in a corner of the place, an old woman, who was bright of face, but her hair was white, and she was combing it with a comb of ivory. We stopped before her, but she paid no heed to us neither veiled her face So I said to her' "O old woman, wert thou to dye thy hair black, thou wouldst be handsomer than a girl. What hinders thee from this?" She raised her head and looking at me with great eyes, recited the following verses:

      That which the years had dyed, I dyed erewhen but, sooth to tell, My dye endureth not, whilst that of Time's perdurable
      Clad in the raiment of my youth and beauty, of old days, Proudly I walked, and back and front, men had with me to mell

"By Allah," cried I, "bravo to thee for an old woman! How sincere art thou in thy yearning remembrance of sin and how false in thy presence of repentance from for bidden things!"




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