THE JEWISH CADI AND HIS PIOUS WIFE.

A certain Cadi of the children of Israel had a wife of surpassing beauty, who was withal exceeding virtuous, chaste and patient, and being minded to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, appointed his brother Cadi in his stead, during his absence, and commended his wife to his charge. Now this brother had heard of her beauty and grace and had fallen in love with her. So, his brother being gone, he went in to her and sought her favours; but she denied him and clave fast unto her chastity. The more she repelled him, the more urgently he pressed his suit upon her, till, despairing of her and fearing lest she should acquaint his brother with his conduct, when he returned, he suborned false witnesses to testify against her of adultery and cited her before the King of the day, who adjudged her to be stoned. So they dug a pit and making her sit therein, stoned her, till she was covered with stones, and [the wicked brother] said, 'Be the pit her grave.'

But, when it was dark night, a passer-by, making for a neighbouring hamlet, heard her groaning and pulling her out of the pit, carried her home to his wife, who dressed her wounds and tended her till she recovered. The peasant's wife had a child, which she gave to the woman to nurse, and the latter used to lodge with the child in another house by night. Now a certain thief saw her and lusted after her. So he sent to her, to require her of love, but she denied herself to him; wherefore he resolved to kill her and making his way into her chamber by night, whilst she slept, thought to strike at her with a knife; but it smote the child and killed it; which when he knew, fear overtook him and he went forth the house and God preserved her from him.

When she awoke in the morning, she found the child by her side slain; and presently his mother came and seeing the boy dead, said to her, 'It was thou didst murder him.' Therewith she beat her grievously and would have killed her; but her husband interposed and delivered the woman, who fled forth for her life, knowing not whither she should go. Presently, she came to a village, where she saw a crowd of people collected about the trunk of a tree, on which was a man crucified, but still in the chains of life. She asked what he had done and they said, 'He hath committed a crime, which nothing can expiate but death or the payment of such a fine by way of alms.' Now she had with her somewhat of money, so she said to them, 'Take the money and let him go.' Accordingly, they set him free and he repented at her hands and vowed to serve her, for the love of God the Most High, till death should release him. Then he built her a hermitage and lodged her therein; moreover, he betook himself to woodcutting and brought her her daily bread. As for her, she was instant in the service of God, so that there came no sick man or demoniac to her, but she prayed for him and he was straightway made whole.

Now it befell, by the ordinance of God the Most High, that He sent down upon her husband's brother a cancer in the face and smote the villager's wife with leprosy and afflicted the murderer of the boy with paralysis. When the Cadi returned home from his pilgrimage, he asked his brother of his wife, and he told him that she was dead, whereat he mourned sore and accounted her with God. After awhile, the folk heard of the pious recluse and flocked to her cell from all parts of the length and breadth of the earth. And the Cadi said to his brother, 'O my brother, wilt thou not seek out yonder pious woman? It may be God shall appoint thee healing at her hands.' 'O my brother,' replied he, 'carry me to her.' Moreover, the husband of the leprous woman heard of the pious woman and carried his wife to her, as did also the paralytic's family; and they all met at the door of her cell, where they waited, till her servant came, and begged him to ask leave of her to admit them; and he did so.

Now she had a place wherefrom she could look out upon those who came to her, without their seeing her, and thence she saw them all and recognized them. So, when her servant came in to her, she veiled herself and went out and stood in the door, looking at them; but they knew her not. Then said she to them, 'O folk, ye shall not be rid of what is with you, till ye confess your sins; for, when the creature confesses his sins, God relenteth towards him and granteth him that for which he resorteth to Him.' Quoth the Cadi to his brother, 'O my brother, repent to God and persist not in thy frowardness, for it will be the more helpful to thy relief.' And the tongue of the case spoke as follows:

      Behold, oppressor and oppressed assembled are to-day, And God the secret hath unveiled, till now that hidden lay.
      This is a case in which, indeed, the sinners are brought low And God exalteth those that be assiduous in His way.
      Yea, and our Master and our Lord discovereth the truth, Whether the sinner froward be or bow him to obey.
      Woe unto those who strive with God and answer Him, as 'twere They knew not what He doth prepare for those that Him gainsay!
      O thou that power and glory seek'st, know, only in the fear Of God true glory lies; so cleave thou fast to Allah aye.

Then said the brother, 'Now will I tell the truth. I did thus and thus with thy wife;' and he confessed the whole matter, adding, 'And this is my sin.' Quoth the leprous woman, 'As for me, I had a woman with me and imputed to her [a crime,] of which I knew [her] not [to be guilty], and beat her grievously; and this is my offence.' And the paralytic said, 'And I went in to a woman to kill her, after I had solicited her to commit adultery and she had refused; and I slew [instead] a boy that lay beside her; and this is my offence.' Then said the pious woman, 'O my God, even as Thou hast made them to feel the misery of disobedience, so show Thou them [now] the excellence of obedience, for Thou canst all things!' And God (to whom belong might and majesty) made them whole. Then the Cadi fell a-looking on the pious woman and considering her straitly, till she asked him why he did thus and he said, 'I had a wife, were she not dead, I had said that thou wast she.' With this, she made herself known to him and they both betook themselves to rendering thanks to God (to whom belong might and majesty) for that which He had vouchsafed them of the reunion of their loves; but the brother and the thief and the villager's wife began to implore her forgiveness. So she forgave them, and they all worshipped God in that place, and were assiduous in her service, till Death sundered them.




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