HIND DAUGHTER OF EN NUMAN AND EL HEJJAJ.

It is related that Hind daughter of En Numan was the fairest woman of her day, and her beauty and grace were reported to El Hejjaj, who sought in marriage and lavished much treasure on her. So he took her to wife, engaging to give her a dowry of two hundred thousand dirhems in case of divorce, and when he went in to her, he abode with her a great while. One day after this, he went in to her and found her looking at her face in the mirror and saying:

      Hind is an Arab filly born and bred of purest stock And blood, that by a mongrel mule, alack! hath covered been;
      So, if she bear a stallion-colt, God-gifted sure is she; But if a mule she bear, the mule must bear the blame, I ween.

When he heard this, he turned back and went his way unseen of Hind; then, being minded to put her away, he sent Abdallah ben Tahir to her, to divorce her. So Abdallah went in to her and said to her, 'El Hejjaj Abou Mohammed saith to thee, "Here be the two hundred thousand dirhems of thy contingent dowry;" and he hath deputed me to divorce thee.' 'O Ibn Tahir,' replied she, 'I consent gladly; for know that I never for one day took pleasure in him; so, if we separate, by Allah, I shall never regret him, and the two hundred thousand dirhems I give to thee as a reward for the glad tidings thou bringest me of my release from yonder dog of a Thekifi.' (39)

After this, the Commander of the Faithful Abdulmelik ben Merwan heard of her beauty and symmetry and the amorous grace of her glances and sent to her, to demand her in marriage; and she wrote him in reply a letter, in which, after the customary glorification of God and benediction of His Prophet, she said, 'Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that the dog hath lapped in the vase.' When the Khalif read her answer, he laughed and wrote to her, citing the prophet's saying, 'If a dog lap in the vessel of one of you, let him wash it seven times, once thereof with earth,' and adding, 'Wash the affront from the place of usance.' With this, she could not gainsay him; so she replied to him, saying, 'O Commander of the Faithful, I will not consent save on condition that El Hejjaj lead my camel to thine abiding-place, barefoot and clad as he is.'

When the Khalif read her letter, he laughed long and loudly and wrote to El Hejjaj, bidding him do as she wished. The latter dared not disobey, so he submitted to the Khalif's commandment and sent to Hind, bidding her make ready for the journey. So she made ready and mounted her litter, whilst her damsels and eunuchs rode about her. Then came El Hejjaj with his suite and dismounting at Hind's door, took the halter of her camel and led it along, barefooted, whilst she and her damsels and tirewomen laughed and jeered at him and made mock of him. Then she said to her tirewoman, 'Draw back the curtain of the litter;' and she drew back the curtain, till Hind was face to face with El Hejjaj, whereupon she laughed at him and he recited the following verse:

      O Hind, for all thy jeering, how many and many a night, Of yore I've left thee wakeful, lamenting for despite!

And she answered him with these:

      We reck not, we, so that our life be safe and free our soul, Of what we lose of goods and gear; it worketh us no dole.
      For wealth anew may gotten be and rank and power regained, If but man of malady and trouble be made whole.

And she ceased not to laugh at him and make sport of him, till they drew near the city of the Khalif, when she threw down a dinar and said to El Hejjaj, 'O camel-driver, I have dropped a dirhem; look for it and give it me.' So he looked and seeing nought but the dinar, said, 'This is a dinar.' 'Nay,' answered she, 'it is a dirhem.' But he said, 'It is a dinar.' Then said she, 'Praised be God who hath given us a dinar in exchange for a paltry dirhem! Give it us.' And he was abashed at this. Then he carried her to the palace of the Commander of the Faithful, and she went in to him and became his favourite.




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